Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 10, 2018

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., has taken over operations of St. Vincent’s College, it said Monday, closing an acquisition deemed likely last year when the university entered a management agreement with St. Vincent’s, which largely awarded two-year nursing degrees.

The two institutions share similar missions, core values and a Roman Catholic identity, said John J. Petillo, Sacred Heart's president, in a news release. Combining them could create new models for clinical education and expand programs at St. Vincent’s, according to the university. Areas to expand in the future include distance education and continuing and professional education.

St. Vincent’s students will have a pathway toward baccalaureate and master’s degrees at Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart will have additional access to inpatient clinical sites. Those were also some of the key benefits leaders stressed when the management agreement was first announced last year.

The deal was officially effective July 2.

July 10, 2018

Newly released federal data show that a large portion of students enrolled at public, two-year colleges in 2011-12 worked during their first year at those institutions.

Some 44 percent of students worked “while enrolled in their first year of postsecondary education,” according to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics,

The report, “Working Before, During, and After Beginning at a Public 2-Year Institution: Labor Market Experiences of Community College Students,” describes the employment of students before they enrolled in college for the first time and during their first year of enrollment. The report also examines how employment is related to these students’ postsecondary experiences and employment outcomes after they left or completed postsecondary education.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Of the 44 percent of students who worked while enrolled in their first year of postsecondary education, 18 percent worked 35 hours or more per week, 14 percent worked between 21 and 34 hours per week, and 11 percent worked fewer than 21 hours per week.
  • Twenty percent of beginning students who worked 20 hours or fewer while enrolled in 2011-12 had attained an associate degree by 2014, compared with 10 percent of students who did not work while enrolled in their first year and 9 percent of students who worked full-time during their first year.
  • Among students who first began attending college in 2011-12 and were not enrolled three years later, a higher percentage of students (20 percent) who did not work while attending school in 2011-12 were unemployed in 2014 than were students who worked 20 hours or fewer while attending school (4 percent), those who worked 21 to 34 hours while attending school (9.4 percent), and those who worked 35 hours or more while attending school (5.6 percent).
July 10, 2018

"One Man's Vulgarity" is the name of a report being issued today by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on censorship of art on campus. The report documents numerous cases and urges those concerned with free expression in higher education to protect artistic freedom in higher education. "The artwork described here expresses a multitude of ideological viewpoints and depicts subjects ranging from critical illustrations of the Confederate flag to theater productions about Lenny Bruce to posters of beloved television characters. The one thing they all have in common is not the message they send, but the censorship their messages provoked," the report says.

Some of the cases discussed have been covered in Inside Higher Ed, including articles about controversies at Brandeis University, Salem State University and the University of Southern Maine.

July 10, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Ellen Stockstill, assistant professor of English at Penn State Harrisburg, discusses Marvel’s Black Panther in context with African history. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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July 9, 2018

A former professor at Colorado State University faces felony charges after being accused of fabricating a job offer from the University of Minnesota, CBS Denver reported.

Authorities say professor Brian McNaughton fabricated the offer as an attempt to increase his status and salary at CSU, an idea he claimed to get from colleagues who said that former Colorado State professors had successfully done so in the past.

Dan Bush, vice provost for faculty affairs at Colorado State, and Tom Hays, professor at the University of Minnesota, determined that the letter was false through a series of emails obtained by CBS Denver. Hays said he “did not write, nor sign an offer letter to Brian McNaughton during [his] interim term (2014-2015) as Dean of College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.” McNaughton resigned from his position and apologized for his "enormous mistake" in a letter to the dean.

Colorado State investigated the claim that other faculty had fabricated letters but found no evidence of such letters.

McNaughton’s lawyer, Erik Fischer, said that McNaughton returned the raise of $4,000 per year over four years.

July 9, 2018

Two former senior executives of ITT Educational Services Inc., a for-profit university, agreed to settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC announced Friday.

The SEC alleges that Kevin Modany, the former CEO, and Daniel Fitzpatrick, the former CFO, fraudulently concealed the financial condition of ITT from investors. The company settled fraud charges with the SEC for similar behavior in 2015.

Modany and Fitzpatrick are both barred from holding senior positions at public companies for at least five years and must pay fines of $200,000 and $100,000, respectively. They agreed to the settlements without admitting to or denying any wrongdoing.

July 9, 2018

The University of Wyoming's new slogan -- "The world needs more cowboys" -- is drawing criticism from professors who say that it is racist, sexist and counterproductive to recruiting out-of-state students, The Laramie Boomerang reported.

Christine Porter, an associate professor at the university, said that "boy" in the word "cowboy" clearly excludes anyone who doesn't identify as male. She also noted that the university has already made this distinction with its sports teams: the women's teams are referred to as Cowgirls while the men's are Cowboys.

In a survey, Porter asked faculty members to picture a cowboy and describe what the word means to them. Seventy-five percent of those who responded thought first of the Marlboro Man. Some respondents offered new slogan suggestions. Porter's favorite is "the world needs more trailblazers."

Chad Baldwin, director of communications at the university, said that the goal of the campaign was to redefine the word "cowboy" to represent anyone at the university. The slogan is part of a $1.4 million investment to advertise to prospective students in and outside Wyoming. The university paid a Colorado marketing firm $500,000 to develop the campaign.

July 9, 2018

The Middle East Studies Association has sent a letter to Egyptian authorities protesting the detention and arrest in Cairo of Waleed Khalil el-Sayed Salem, a University of Washington Ph.D. student. The association's letter states that Salem was conducting important research at the time on the interaction of judges and lawyers in Egypt. "Mr. Salem is a young scholar, but he has already established a reputation among those who know him for the serious and scholarly nature of his work," the letter said. The Seattle Times reported that Salem's lawyers said he was facing charges of "spreading fake news" and of ties to a terrorist group -- charges they said were false.

The embassy of Egypt did not respond to a request for comment.

A University of Washington spokesman, asked for comment, sent the following via email: "I cannot provide or confirm any information on this individual. However, in a case such as this one, our paramount interest is the safety of any member of our community, whether student, faculty or staff. The university would do everything in its power to contact the appropriate authorities in an effort to advocate for and protect a student. We would, of course, issue a statement if and when we believe it would serve this interest."

July 9, 2018

As accusations grow that U.S. representative Jim Jordan knew and did nothing about alleged sexual abuse of wrestling team members at Ohio State University, President Trump is backing him and calling the allegations part of an effort by "deep state" conspirators who want to bring down the president, The New York Times reports. Jordan, a leading Republican in the House, was a coach at Ohio State at the time of alleged abuse.

“Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington,” Trump said to reporters Thursday. “I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind.”

Jordan continues to deny any knowledge of wrongdoing, even as more former players have come forward with details about the abusive environment they trained in. A Politico story published Thursday reported that the misconduct extended beyond Richard Strauss, the former team doctor currently being investigated by Ohio State for sexual misconduct, to other "male voyeurs" and "gawkers" in Larskin Hall, the Ohio State building that housed athletic teams. Six wrestlers have said Jordan had to have known about the misconduct.

July 9, 2018

The American Historical Association this week launches Where Historians Work, an online tool tracking career outcomes for the more than 8,500 historians who earned their Ph.D.s at U.S. institutions between 2004 and 2014. Where Historians Work is the fullest picture of Ph.D. careers available in any discipline, according to AHA, and signals the association’s “commitment to transparency and breadth in discussions of careers for history Ph.D.s.”

The association says the tool will help “answer long-standing questions about the discipline and prompt new conversations about where historical work happens, what it means to ‘do’ history, and ultimately what it means to be a historian.”

A key finding is that more than two-thirds of history Ph.D.s end up as college and university faculty members, despite declines in academic hiring. The vast majority work at teaching-focused institutions. History Ph.D.s have low rates of unemployment, and those who work outside academe do so across a wide variety of fields. Specialization and degree-granting institution do appear to affect career outcomes, while gender appears to have little to no effect, according to the AHA’s analysis.

The association notes that Where Historians Work focuses on outcomes, not motivations, but that the findings reveal important questions about the “agency” of Ph.D.s. Many history Ph.D.s remain in the cities or regions where they earned their degrees, for example, suggesting location plays a role in educational and career decisions. Where Historians Work is part of a national trend toward increased transparency about Ph.D. employment outcomes.

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