Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Subscribe to Inside Higher Ed | Quick Takes
Friday, July 19, 2013 - 4:10am

The number of black and Latino students entering four-year colleges significantly outpaced the number of white students over the last three years, while the six-year graduation rate of the minority students edged up slowly, the Education Trust said in a new report. "Intentionally Successful," an analysis of new data from the U.S. Education Department, found that black and Hispanic enrollment at four-year colleges rose by 8.5 and 22 percent, respectively, between 2009 and 2011, compared to a 2.7 percent rise in white enrollment.

The six-year graduation rates of those groups rose by 2 percent, 4.7 percent, and 2.1 percent, respectively, between 2009 and 2011, and the graduation rate for black students in 2011 was still 2.2 percentage points lower than it was in 2006, Education Trust found.

 

 

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 3:00am

Saint Louis University is putting aside $13.4 million for salary increases for faculty and staff in the coming school year, something its embattled president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, said he hoped would demonstrate the university’s recognition “of the important contributions of all our employees” in an announcement early this week. (The president and faculty have been at odds since last year, when he backed a controversial plan to require faculty to requalify for tenure every three years.)

But by midweek, Saint Louis faculty were accusing Biondi of retaliating against professors who had spoken out against him by way of forfeited raises. At Saint Louis, salary recommendations are based in part on performance, and some professors said they didn’t get what their deans had recommended to the university’s senior academic officer, Ellen Harshman. “The system is supposed to be transparent, fair and merit-based,” said Jonathan Sawday, professor of English, in a news release from the university’s American Association of University Professors chapter. “This year, in some cases, it looks like it wasn’t any of those things.”

Steve Harris, professor mathematics and computer science and AAUP chapter president, said statistical analysis showed “irrefutable” evidence that targeted faculty were “largely those – both lay and Jesuit – who opposed the president who had their salary recommendations reduced by [Rev.] Biondi.” Harris said his own dean recommended him for a 3.75 percent raise, but he only received a 1 percent raise. "The difference is $2,000," he said in an e-mail. "This is typical of the most vocal of the opponents."

In a statement to all faculty, Jane Turner, Faculty Senate president and professor of pathology, said members of the senate’s executive committee “believe that all such acts of retaliation warrant serious scrutiny and that the president should be held accountable for this action by informing the affected faculty members of the reasons supporting his decision to overrule the recommendations of the respective deans.”

In an e-mailed statement, Clayton Barry, university spokesman, said that 98 percent of all eligible full-time faculty and staff received salary increases beginning July 1, and that those publicly charging Biondi with retaliation included those who received raises. (Harris said that was true, but that the raises were less than had been recommended.) “The salary review process was the same this year as it has been for the past 30 years,” he said, “and each year some salary recommendations – faculty and staff – are increased and some are decreased during the process.”

Harshman did not immediately return a request for comment, nor did Rev. Michael D. Barber, dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 4:16am

The University of California has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by a surgeon at the medical school at the university's Los Angeles campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. Christian Head, a head and neck surgeon at UCLA, had accused the university of retaliating against him for filing complaints about discrimination through regular channels, and said that he had once been portrayed as a gorilla being sodomized in a slide show at an event for residents -- an incident for which the university apologized in the settlement.

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 3:00am

Accurately tracking the job placement rates and earnings of college graduates is tricky business, according to a new paper from the American Association of Community Colleges. Policy makers are pushing hard for work force performance measures, but the data are often problematic. For example, students' paths after community college might include more college or enlistment in the military, the paper said. And institutional earnings data vary widely based on students' majors and earned credentials.

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 4:20am

Expressing concerns that the Australian government's push to expand enrollments could hurt quality, officials at the University of New South Wales will require students to meet a minimum test score to enroll in any of its classes next year, The Australian reported. Fred Hilmer, the vice chancellor, told employees that the university would restrict entry to students with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 80 or above, the newspaper reported. Hilmer expressed concern that the quality of degrees may be slipping as universities rushed to enroll undergraduates to maximize government funding.

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 3:00am

Cayuga Community College is wrestling with serious money problems, according to the Auburn Citizen. The college, which is located in New York, declared a state of fiscal exigency this week. It is working to cut a $1.5 million budget gap, the newspaper reported, and might lay off employees. 

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 3:00am

The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a spending bill Thursday that would increase spending on the National Science Foundation by $183 million over what the agency is receiving this year. The legislation is part of an overall spending bill for several agencies that would make a significant investment in federal science research programs, particularly in the physical sciences. Funds for the NSF would increase to $7.4 billion, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would see a boost of $141 million over its 2013 spending level. The spending levels in the Senate bill are significantly higher than those in the competing House version -- which means that it's far from clear how a final budget for the agencies will shake out.

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 3:00am

Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference's member universities have written the National Collegiate Athletic Association to question whether for-profit institutions should be allowed to participate in Division I athletics, according to CBSSports.com. The inquiry follows the transition of Grand Canyon University, a publicly traded for-profit, to Division I, which began last month. Grand Canyon is joining the Western Athletic Conference, where its men's and women's basketball teams will compete.

The Pac-12 CEOs did not specifically criticize Grand Canyon's jump to the big time. Instead they said they wanted to share their broader concerns about institutions that are responsible to investors participating in Division I. Larry Scott, the league's commissioner, told the website that Pac-12 universities had discussed not playing Grand Canyon in any sport. The league includes Arizona State University, which is near Grand Canyon's campus.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 4:26am

Snap out of the heat-induced summer doldrums by participating in this month's Inside Higher Ed cartoon caption contest. Suggest a caption for this month's cartoon and win an Amazon gift certificate and a signed edition of the cartoon. Vote on your favorite from among our judges' three choices from the scores of suggestions we received for last month's cartoon.

And we're pleased to announce the winner of May's contest: Arlene Neal, who heads the department of developmental English and reading at Catawba Valley Community College, in North Carolina. Find out more about her and her caption here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 3:00am

Ohio Representatives Robert F. Hagan and Mike Foley announced Tuesday that they would propose legislation, similar to a plan recently adopted in Oregon, that could eventually result in students paying no tuition while in college but agreeing to pay a percentage of their wages once employed after graduation. Like the Oregon law, the Ohio legislation does not create any immediate policy changes but would task the state's executive agency with developing a pilot program that would go before lawmakers for approval in two years.

Proponents of such legislation say it will help remove the cost barrier that might keep students from pursuing a college education and might make it easier for students to repay, since payments will be linked to income. “This is a unique opportunity for the state to actively address a real problem that has haunted so many young people for far too long,” Foley said in a news release. “The inaction on student loan debt is very real, and I think too many young people are wondering why their government has failed them in this regard.” Opponents have challenged the feasibility of such plans, as well as whether they put too much of the burden for paying for college on students, rather than governments and parents.

Pages

Back to Top