Government programs aimed at encouraging more students to complete degrees in science, mathematics, education or technology should be better coordinated across agencies, a report issued Friday by the Government Accountability Office recommended. The report, undertaken after a request from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, found that the 209 STEM programs across 13 agencies frequently overlap but that fewer than half of those programs coordinate with similar efforts. Just because programs overlap doesn't mean they are redundant, the GAO wrote in its report. Still, the office recommended that the Office of Science and Technology Policy create a strategy and plan for STEM programs, including how the programs should share information across agencies, and evaluate the programs based on their outcomes.
Higher Education Quick Takes
About one-third of South Korean universities have announced tuition cuts, The Korea Herald reported. The government has been urging the cuts, in a year in which student aid is being increased, to make higher education more affordable for Korean families.
John Chadima resigned suddenly this month as senior associate athletic director at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Tuesday night, the university revealed the reason (which has been the subject of much speculation). According to an investigation commissioned by the university, Chadima made an unwelcome sexual advance on a student employee and threatened to fire him if he reported the incident, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. The advance took place after a Rose Bowl party for students who worked for the athletic program. The student said he was asked to stay after the party to drink with Chadima. Through his lawyer, Chadima released a statement in which he said that the incident "is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am, my lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs.... However I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life," the statement continued. "I am taking steps to correct that problem in my life at this time."
An influential New York State senator has introduced legislation to create new felony charges of "facilitation of education testing fraud" and "scheming to defraud educational testing," as well as a new misdemeanor charge of "forgery of a test," the Associated Press reported. While authorities have brought charges against students accused of paying others to take the SAT for them in Long Island, Senator Kenneth LaValle said Tuesday that more tools were needed to combat cheating. LaValle was the prime sponsor of testing legislation in the past that spread to other states, and he said that he hopes New York State will again play that role.
Israel's Higher Education Council has ordered all universities to turn over information about people without bachelor's degrees who have been admitted to graduate programs that require (at least in theory) completion of a bachelor's degree, Haaretz reported. The move follows a report in Haaretz that an anchorman-turned-politician, who lacks a bachelor's degree, was admitted to a graduate program at Bar-Ilan University.
Trudie Kibbe Reed is stepping down as president of Bethune-Cookman University, amid apparent board disagreements over whether her resignation should be accepted. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported her departure, confirmed by the board chair. The Orlando Sentinel, while also confirming her resignation, quoted a trustee as saying Reed had not resigned, and that the board had taken no action on her departure. (Reed did not respond to an e-mail message from Inside Higher Ed seeking clarification.) Reed has been praised for promoting growth at the historically black college. But the institution has seen controversies as well. An investigation by the American Association of University Professors found that the university violated the due process of faculty members who were fired after they were accused of sexual harassment. University officials disputed the AAUP's findings. Last year, the News-Journal reported that Bethune-Cookman was facing 12 lawsuits from ex-employees who say that they were fired inappropriately.
More than two dozen college associations, accrediting agencies and other organizations have endorsed a set of guidelines that they say show that they are committed to gathering evidence that their students are learning, the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability will announce today. The group, which for three years has been striving to get higher education leaders to agree on a set of goals and methods for using and reporting student learning outcomes, trumpets the new guidelines as a common "checklist" that institutions can and will use to "test whether they are actually doing what needs to be done about gathering, reporting, and using evidence of student learning," said David C. Paris, the group's executive director.
California State University trustees on Tuesday rejected a request by a legislator that they hold off on a plan that would lead to significant increases in what some campus presidents are paid, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The plan would group Cal State campuses by mission and enrollment, and then set salary ranges based on peer institutions. Those comparison groups would result in significantly higher salaries -- much to the frustration of student and faculty leaders, and many lawmakers. Trustees, however, say that they need to pay more to attract top talent.
Pepperdine University has, for the fourth time, rejected a request from a gay-straight student alliance to be recognized. A petition, signed by nearly 4,000 people as of Tuesday morning, said that the university needed to accept the organization. "Pepperdine students often struggle to be honest about their sexual orientation because they fear rejection from their peers as well as the risk of losing their scholarships and leadership opportunities," the petition says. "Moreover, professors do not feel comfortable speaking on the issue, worrying that they will be denied tenure or research grants. Until now, the university’s policies have created an atmosphere of silence and anxiety that alienates not only the LGBT student population but also anyone concerned for their well-being." The petition states that the group, Reach OUT, does not endorse sexual activity, but that organizers were unwilling to abide by an administrator's request that it "explicitly condemn sexual activity." A university spokesman told the Associated Press that the group was not aligned with Pepperdine's religious views on sexual morality. Pepperdine is a Churches of Christ institution.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is proposing a centralization of community colleges in Massachusetts. His plan would give the state's Board of Higher Education authority over all funds for all community colleges, consolidating the 15 line items for the colleges in the budget today. Further, Patrick said that the board would focus on job preparation. “A central piece of our economic recovery strategy is ensuring that the skills of our workforce meet the evolving needs of our employers,” said Governor Patrick in a statement. “That’s why we are advancing a new and innovative mission for our community colleges, to train highly-qualified candidates for jobs in every corner of the commonwealth."