Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 3:00am

The National Labor College, facing financial difficulties, has decided to sell its entire campus (located in the Washington suburbs), but officials insist that the institution has a viable future. The college -- the academic arm of the labor movement -- offers degree and certificate programs for leaders and future leaders of unions. Most programs are distance, but involve residencies, which have taken place on the campus. Paula Peinovich, the president, said in an interview that the decision was a "very hard" one. "The sale of the property is not something that the board of the college has chosen to do lightly," she added. "But faced with financial issues, the board is going to focus on the college." She said that the property will need to be rezoned to be sold to a developer, and that the process means that the college isn't relocating immediately. Eventually, she said that the residency portions of the college's programs would take place at union facilities or academic centers around the country.

The campus also includes a conference center, which will be sold, and the AFL-CIO archives, which are used by scholars of labor history. Peinovich said that the AFL-CIO owns the archives, and that the college is in discussion with the AFL-CIO about where the collections will go.

The National Labor College had thought it would gain a secure financial partnership through a partnership with the Princeton Review (a partnership some in academic labor questioned because of the concerns of many faculty members in the union movement about for-profit higher education). But the Princeton Review pulled out of that partnership in November.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 3:00am

State spending on higher education increased by $10.5 billion in absolute terms from 1990 to 2010, but considering changes in enrollments and inflation, funding per public full-time equivalent student dropped by 26.1 percent from 1990-1991 to 2009-2010, according to a report released Monday by the think tank Demos. During the same period, the report documents, tuition at public institution has seen large increases in many states. While many of those states have also increased aid budgets, a large share of those funds has gone to programs that are not based on financial need. The report notes that household income has not generally increased to match the tuition increases, and that the volume of outstanding student debt has grown by a factor of 4.5 since 1999.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 3:00am
  • Elizabeth Ambos, assistant vice chancellor for research at the California State University System, has been selected as executive officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research, in Washington, D.C.
  • Thomas Chiles, a professor of biology at Boston College, has been named the Dr. Michael E. and Dr. Salvatore A. DeLuca professor of biology there.
  • Brian P. Darmody, associate vice president of research and economic development at the University of Maryland at College Park, has been given the additional title of director of corporate relations.
  • Sandra Lagana, head women’s soccer coach and assistant sports information director at Ferrum College, in Virginia, has been appointed as head women’s soccer coach at McDaniel College, in Maryland.
  • Tim Regan-Porter, president and CEO of Paste Media Group, has been chosen as director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University, in Georgia.
  • Peter A. Spina, president emeritus of Monroe Community College, in New York, has been named interim president of Tidewater Community College, in Virginia.

The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes and promotions, please click here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Maryann Tebben of Bard College at Simon’s Rock reveals French cuisine’s most French dish. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Just a week after its women’s basketball players were crowned at the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, Baylor University could be bracing for bad news from the NCAA. ESPN.com reported Monday that an investigation has found more than 1,200 instances of impermissible recruiting contacts on the part of Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches. The university has reportedly already self-imposed a number of sanctions, including scholarship reductions and recruiting limitations for both teams. The NCAA could impose additional sanctions when its infractions report is made public as early as this week, ESPN wrote.

Over a 29-month period, Baylor’s basketball programs reportedly sent recruits 738 impermissible text messages and made 528 impermissible phone calls, most of which came from the men’s staff in 2007 and 2008. But the investigation also uncovered 405 impermissible calls and texts made across nine different sports during 2011. Both the university and its men's basketball coach, Scott Drew, face major violations charges of "failure to monitor" the sports programs, ESPN wrote.

Baylor's men's basketball team made it to the championship quarterfinals this year, and its football team boasted the Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Monday that the association “can’t get into details” regarding the case because it is still under review. “However,” he continued, “each member agrees to abide by the rules established by the association and our membership expects those who do not follow the rules will be held accountable.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 4:30am

Students at Guilford College are pushing for a fee increase ($100 over two years) at a time when many college students are objecting to such increases. The News-Record reported that students want the increase to increase the student aid budget. The move comes as Guilford (along with other private colleges in North Carolina) face a loss of state funds for aid for North Carolina students. The college's board will vote on the proposal in June. Kent Chabotar, president of the college, said that he was surprised by the proposal. "The last thing you’d think would be that they’d want to increase the fees even more on their own authority." But he added that push to help fellow students was "a classic Guilford move."

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The Record has exposed more cases of New Jersey colleges reporting incomplete information on SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report to inflate rankings. Ramapo College has been excluding about 22 percent of its new students (generally the most disadvantaged students) when reporting average SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report. As a result, the SAT average reported by Ramapo was more than 50 points higher than it should have been. New Jersey City University has also been inflating its SAT scores, the Record reported. Ramapo, shortly after the article was published Friday, said it would start reporting the averages for all students. New Jersey City University officials said that they were unaware of the practice.

 

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

What's so funny about a 68-year-old classics and religious studies professor -- decked out in a blue flannel shirt, navy dress pants pulled up to a generous height and sporty black shoes -- cruising around campus on a skateboard? Tom Winter still isn't sure, but the University of Nebraska at Lincoln instructor is playing along now that a photo of him riding an Arbor Pocket Rocket skateboard has gone viral, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. The picture, apparently taken by a Nebraska student, was the most-viewed item on Reddit.com one day last week and has been the subject of dozens of mock captions on Imgur.com.

Winter, who rides his bike to work every day, opts for a skateboard when he moves around campus. "I'm 19, but my joints are all of 68 years old," he told the Journal Star. "Sometimes, walking is simply unpleasant."

Imgur caption writers wrote "He has a Ph.D. in epicness" and "Tony Hawk in his senior years." Others were less kind: "Suddenly, broken hip," reads one comment. Sights of Winter weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic as his gray hair and decorative ties flap in the wind have long made him a cult celebrity in Lincoln. But the former roller skating champion who has spent more than 40 years on the Nebraska faculty seems to be taking his newfound global fame in stride.

"It's a pretty good photo," he told the Lincoln newspaper.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Jorge Gilbert, who formerly taught South American history and politics at Evergreen State College, was fined nearly $120,000 last year by the Washington State Executive Ethics Board for failing to account for $50,000 in student payments he received from student for a study abroad program in Chile. With that debt looming, the state attorney general's office reported last week that Gilbert has disappeared, The Olympian reported.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Student journalists might not be as funny as they think. The latest mea culpa, from the University of Missouri at Columbia's campus newspaper editor, centers around the retitling of The Maneater's April Fool's edition as The Carpeteater.

In a lengthy statement released Friday, Editor Abby Spudich explains that she "truly did not know that 'carpet eater' is a derogatory term used for a lesbian." She also apologized for other April Fool's jokes that fell on deaf ears, including a series of vulgar references to women. The paper won't publish an April Fool's edition next year, Spudich wrote. "Our April Fool’s issue serves as a cautionary warning about the consequences of ignorance," she writes, "but I hope the actions we will take in the near future will serve as an example of how to take steps forward to promote an inclusive campus for all."

If only there had been a cautionary tale available a couple weeks ago. It's been a tough month for America's student press, as an April Fool's edition at Boston University that made light of rape led to an editor's resignation.

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