Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Bruce N. Chaloux, executive director and chief executive officer of the Sloan Consortium and a longtime leader in the online learning world, died suddenly over the weekend. Chaloux took the reins at Sloan, an association of professionals and institutions involved in digital education, in March 2012. Before that, he directed the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus, a market place of more than 10,000 digital courses, and previously worked at Virginia Tech and Castleton State College in Vermont.

"It is impossible to adequately put into words what Bruce Chaloux meant personally and professionally to each of us," said Meg Benke, Sloan's president and a faculty member in the Empire State College School for Graduate Studies. "He was more than the energetic CEO of our Consortium. He was our good-humored, kind and generous friend. He was an optimistic and dedicated leader who spent his last days doing what he loved: working diligently for online and adult learning opportunities here and around the world. His accomplishments are many, his networks extensive, and his unfinished business is still at hand."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest celebrates its first birthday today, with the publication of a new cartoon, a chance to vote on your favorite nominated captions from last month, and news about the winner of our August contest.

We invite you to submit your ideas for the cleverest caption for the new cartoon, which you can find here. Vote on your favorite from among our judges' three choices from among the suggestions we received for last month's cartoon.

And kudos to Vicki Dominick, assistant director for learning services at George Mason University, whose caption scored the most reader votes among the three finalists chosen by our panel for August's cartoon. View her winning entry here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Yale University could admit about 15 percent more undergraduates because of a $250 million donation to construct two residential colleges. The $250 million gift from an alumnus, Charles B. Johnson, former chairman of the board of Franklin Resources, is the university’s largest ever.

The donation will be used to build two new residential colleges, allowing the university to admit about 15 percent more students each year and bringing the total undergraduate enrollment to over 6,000. The university is within $80 million of the funds necessary to break ground on the project.

“This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Yale’s most loyal alumni,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a press release.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

We will update this throughout the day.

Update (1:30 p.m. EDT):

The Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate competitions at the service academies because of the government shutdown, the Naval Academy said in a statement posted on its athletics site Tuesday.

The suspension leaves the status of Saturday’s Air Force-Navy football game unclear. A decision on that game will be made by noon on Thursday, the statement said. 

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Update (12:15 p.m. EDT):

The closure of Smithsonian museums and research centers is impacting scholars’ access to data and records at those institutions.

Lisa D. Cook, an associate professor of economic and international relations at Michigan State University, is in Washington, D.C. this fall where she is a visiting fellow at the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation.

She said the shutdown was forcing her to reorganize her research that had been planned for six to seven months and lamented the lack of access to Smithsonian facilities.

“This is a real loss, since the reason for being in residence is because of the access to experts in this area and to people who have created or maintained these records,” Cook said in an e-mail. “These will be hours, days, and missed encounters I will never be able to reclaim.  It also seems to be demoralizing for the researchers on staff whose deadlines and workload will not change, but their ability to meet them will.”

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Update (11:30 a.m. EDT): 

The Education Department has shuttered the website of its research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences. Visitors to the site are unable to access to the department's trove of data on colleges and universities available in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System known as IPEDS. Would-be college students or parents hoping to use the department's CollegeNavigator website -- which allows consumers and others to compare information about individual colleges -- will also be frustrated. The Education Department's main Web site will not be updated, but sites relating to federal student aid programs, including the popular site for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will mostly continue operating as normal. 

On Capitol Hill, the House subcommittee on higher education has postponed a hearing scheduled for Tuesday about simplifying student financial aid.

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WASHINGTON -- The federal government grinds to a halt today, given Congress's inability to reach a deal on the federal budget before today's October 1 start of the 2014 fiscal year. The implications for higher education are likely to be mild at the start, but could ratchet up quickly if the disagreement drags on.

Below are the contingency plans for various agencies important to colleges, their students, and their employees:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Economic shifts over the past 30 years have delayed career launches for young adults, according to a report released Monday by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

Young workers now reach financial independence at age 30 on average, an increase from age 26, and young African Americans gain traction in their careers at age 33, according to the report, Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation.

The declining access to full-time jobs has created a “lost decade” for young people, the report said. Finding employment has been especially different for young men, young adults without higher education and young African Americans. “As a result of increasing human capital requirements for both young and old, the education and labor market institutions that were the foundation of the 20th century industrial system are out of sync with the 21st century economy,” the report said.

Older workers who are college-educated are staying in the labor market longer. In 1987, 42 percent of women 55 and older were employed, compared with 62 percent in 2010. But the growing number of employed older adults has not caused the declining employment of young adults, the report said.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Proposals to alter federal financial aid programs to try to promote college completion could end up damaging postsecondary access, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance argues in a new report. The report, "Do No Harm," warns that several of the policies being discussed in think tank circles and among some members of Congress could diminish the representation in higher education of students from low-income families.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Bellingham Technical College faculty resumed classes Monday following their weeklong strike over union contract negotiations. A three-year contract deal reached over the weekend includes a 3 percent raise for faculty per pay step, bigger stipends, longevity bonuses, and pay raises for adjunct faculty at the Washington institution.

Leaders of the Bellingham Education Association, affiliated with the National Education Association, said they looked forward to improved relations with the administration in a union news release. “We’re serious about wanting to improve our college,” said Don Anderson, a welding technology professor who served on the union bargaining team.

In a statement, Bellingham President Patricia McKeown said the college was pleased to have a contract in place. “We will all need to help each other through a healing process and get back to doing what we do best -- changing our students’ lives for the better and contributing to a healthy economy.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 4:17am

The University of California at Berkeley evacuated the campus Monday night after an explosion caused by a power system failure. One student with minor injuries was taken to the hospital, and four others with minor injuries declined to be hospitalized. Late Monday night, Berkeley officials told students they could return to housing units on campus. The power outage hit the campus at 4:40 p.m., and shortly after that evening classes were called off, and laboratories were told to shut down operations. About 20 people were stuck in various elevators on campus but they were all rescued by 8:30 p.m. The explosion took place about 6:40 p.m.

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Accrediting agencies should no longer serve as gatekeepers to federal financial aid, argues a new report by Hank Brown, a former president of the University of Colorado and Republican U.S. senator. The current accreditation system squelches innovation, interferes with colleges' autonomy, and is riddled with conflicts of interest, Brown said in the report, which was co-sponsored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the American Enterprise Institute. In addition to separating eligibility for federal aid funding from accreditation, Brown's report called for accreditors to use transparent performance metrics. The call to break the link between accreditation and federal financial aid has frequently been made by Anne Neal, who is president of the trustees' group.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Yagesh Bhambhani of the University of Alberta reveals why hands-free cell phone use makes driving dangerous. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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