Higher Education Quick Takes
George Washington University is laying off 46 administrative employees, The Washington Post reported. The move comes as the university moves to cut all administrative units by 5 percent to deal with lost revenue from a decline in graduate enrollment.
The American Enterprise Institute's Center on Higher Education Reform today released two new reports on competency-based education, which follow a report the center released in January. The first paper uses results from a survey of hiring managers at companies around the country to learn about employers' perceptions of the emerging form of higher education. The survey found that while employers' overall awareness of competency-based education is low, those that do know about it have a favorable view.
The center's second paper seeks to describe best practices for the assessments that competency-based programs use. The report argues that the credibility of this form of higher education hinges on the quality of those assessments.
The Lumina Foundation today released its sixth annual report on the national college completion push it has helped lead. The foundation said 40 percent of working-age Americans held a two- or four-year degree in 2013, a modest improvement from the previous year's rate of 39.4 percent. Lumina's goal is for 60 percent of adults to hold a credential by 2025. Large attainment gaps persist by race, found the report, which breaks the gaps down by city and state.
Michigan State University has announced that it will phase out the burning of coal in its campus power plant by the end of 2016. Currently the plant burns natural gas, biomass and coal. But the university said that it was dropping coal because of its commitment to sustainability. Changing energy costs and new federal emission rules make the change financially viable as well, the university statement said.
Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today "New Debates About Accountability," our latest compilation of articles. As with other such print-on-demand booklets, the compilation groups together news articles and opinion essays representing a range of views. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Wednesday, April 29, at 2 p.m. Eastern, about the themes of the booklet.
Northern Michigan University has ousted Cheryl Reed as faculty adviser to the student newspaper, much to the dismay of many student journalists, The Detroit Free Press reported. Reed is credited with encouraging much more aggressive journalism and much more frequent use of open records requests. The shift has angered many administrators, who say that the student journalists were not always accurate.
The council of the University of Cape Town announced Wednesday that it has voted to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from the campus. The vote followed years of criticism for keeping the statue. Rhodes donated the land on which the university is located, but he is considered by many to be a symbol of the apartheid system that denied basic human rights to black people in South Africa.
James Ritchie, a male student, has resigned as women's officer of the student union at the University of Tasmania. Ritchie's recent election to that post set off a furor. He has said repeatedly that he is committed to fighting discrimination against women.
A petition calling for his removal states that support for women's equality isn't the only qualification for the position. "The role of women’s officer is more than just about ‘doing things’ for women students, it is also about representation. In what have historically been male-dominated institutions, with a persistently patriarchal culture, it is important that women’s rights, needs, interests and concerns in the university context are voiced through someone elected to directly represent them. In light of persisting social issues of gender inequality, discrimination and under-representation of women in positions of influence and power at university and beyond, we believe it is not much to ask that women students are ensured a dedicated student representative to not only represent their specific concerns as a student body, but also to simply carve out and ensure space for women in the Tasmanian University Union Student Representative Council," the petition says.
In his resignation statement, Ritchie criticized those who called for his ouster. "How can we as a society expect our men to stand up for women if they are mocked and insulted for trying to help the cause?" he wrote. "I challenge all those that have ridiculed me and asked me to resign, what are you going to do now? How are you going to ensure as a community we work to eradicate discrimination and injustice for women? This still takes place daily around the world. Surely a starting point cannot be hating those who are wanting to do good."