Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has placed Kean University on probation, citing questions about whether the university is adequately measuring student learning, and whether there is an atmosphere that promotes respect among students, faculty members and administrators, The Star-Ledger reported. Dawood Farahi, the president, and Ada Morell, the board president, issued a statement blasting the accreditor, accusing it of carrying out a "staff-driven agenda" designed to hurt the university's reputation.

 

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Public universities' law school clinics are not covered by the state's open records law, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday, The Star-Ledger reported. The decision came in a suit by the developer of a mall who wanted access to records of groups working with a Rutgers University law clinic to block the mall's construction. Law clinic experts said that it would have been impossible for clinics to operate at public universities if all records could be obtained by groups in litigation with the clients represented by the clinics.

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Maine System announced Thursday that Selma Botman is leaving the presidency of the University of Southern Maine to work on international issues for the system. A majority of faculty members at Southern Maine voted no confidence in Botman in May, although university rules require a two-thirds majority of all faculty members (that was not met) for such a vote to count. Theodora Kalikow, who recently ended a widely praised tenure as president of the University of Maine at Farmington, will take over at Southern Maine on Tuesday.

 

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

WASHINGTION -- The housecleaning continues at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities -- but the newest addition to the senior management team of the for-profit-college group is a familiar name in higher ed policy circles. Sally Stroup, whose résumé includes a stint at the U.S. Education Department as well as a long career as a senior Congressional aide (plus time as a lobbyist for the Apollo Group), was named Thursday as executive vice president for government relations and legal counsel at the trade association. (She has since been senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Scantron Corp., a technology company.)

Stroup's political experience has all been with Republican politicians, and her appointment means that APSCU, within a year, will have undergone a partisan transformation in its top two spots. Stroup replaces Brian Moran, a former Democratic state delegate from Virginia and chair of the state Democratic Party, and the association's president and CEO, Steve Gunderson, a former Republican Congressman, replaced Harris Miller, a former U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia.

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Students at Russia's Kazan University say that they were forced to sit for an exam for 23 hours, from 10 a.m. one day until 9 a.m. the next, without being permitted to leave for bathroom breaks, RIA Novosti reported. Like many Russian exams, the test was oral, and the students were forced to wait until the instructor -- who they said was drunk -- excused them. University officials have denied that the instructor was drunk.

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Sarantakes of the U.S. Naval War College examines how tense international relations have regularly spilled over into the Olympic arena. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:00am

City College of San Francisco, which has 90,000 students, has been told by its accreditor that it has eight months to demonstrate why it should stay open, and that it must "make preparations for closure," The San Francisco Chronicle reported. A loss of accreditation would make the college's students ineligible for federal aid, and would likely make it impossible for the college to function. College officials said that they are working hard to respond to the concerns. But a 66-page accreditation report obtained by the newspaper cites numerous, severe problems, including "leadership weaknesses at all levels," "failure to react to ongoing reduced funding," and spending all but 8 percent of the college's budget on salaries and benefits.

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, and some higher education leaders in Washington State are criticizing Western Washington University officials for agreeing to a faculty contract that grants raises of 5.25 percent this year and 4.25 percent each of the following two years, plus an increase of 15 percent in stipends for department chairs, The Seattle Times reported. "Your agreement seems to ignore the shared sacrifice that other state employees in general government and institutions of higher education have made during the Great Recession," Gregoire wrote in a letter to Bruce Shepard, the university's president. She added that Western's raises "will hurt current and future efforts to protect and increase funding for public higher education." A spokesman for the University of Washington, where faculty members have not received a raise since 2008, said that officials there were surprised that Western Washington agreed to salary increases. Shepard defended the raises, saying that they came only after administrators cut the budget where they could. The raises were needed, he said, to recruit and retain quality professors.

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:00am

The World Bank has barred business transactions with two African subsidiaries of Oxford University Press, saying that these units engaged in corruption by providing inappropriate payments to government officials in Kenya and Tanzania, the BBC reported. Oxford University Press said that it is disciplining the employees involved.

 

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Illinois announced Tuesday that it will pay $175,000 to Lisa Troyer to give up her tenured position in the psychology department at the Urbana-Champaign campus. A brief statement said that the university "has not initiated, and will not initiate, any disciplinary process." Troyer moved to the faculty position after quitting as chief of staff to Michael Hogan, who had a brief and controversial tenure as president of the university system. Faculty members believed that she was sending anonymous messages to faculty discussion groups, urging professors to take positions backing Hogan. An outside investigation by the university found that the messages came from Troyer's laptop at a time that she had possession of the laptop, and that there was no evidence of hacking. Troyer's lawyer sent reporters an e-mail Tuesday quoting her as saying: "I have always stated that I never sent any anonymous emails, and the investigation report never concluded that I did."

 

 

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