Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president, has been giving speeches around his country calling for students to stop taking courses in "non-marketable" subjects such as literature and conflict resolution, Voice of America reported. In one recent talk, he said: "The problem is not jobs, the jobs are there. What is crucial are the skills. There has been a course at Makarere [University] called Conflict Resolution. OK, but what will you do when the conflicts are finished? This unemployment you are talking about. Is it unemployment or is it employability? Is it that you are unemployed, or is it that you are not employable because you have got skills which are not needed on the market?" Faculty members and students are split on the president's campaign, with some praising it and others questioning whether he is defining the purpose of higher education in too narrow a way.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Tom Williams resigned Thursday as Yale University's football coach, and admitted that he had never been a finalist -- as he had claimed -- for a Rhodes Scholarship, The New York Times reported. Williams had listed the honor in various places, and drew attention to his background when Yale's star quarterback this year opted to play the game against Harvard University rather than go to an interview that might have landed him a Rhodes Scholarship. As Williams told the story, he opted out of a chance at a Rhodes while he was at Stanford University, preferring to play a game rather than go to the interview. In a statement Thursday, he admitted that he had never been a Rhodes finalist. He said that some faculty members had encouraged him to apply, but that he had never done so.
Officials from Kentucky and the University of Pikeville, a private institution, are discussing the possibility of the university becoming a public campus in the state system, The Herald-Leader reported. The move would require legislative approval at a time that dollars are scarce. Pikeville officials said that a switch to public status would result in students in the region getting a new higher education option at public rates that are almost $10,000 a year less than the tuition paid to Pikeville as a private institution.
Stephen Bloom, the University of Iowa journalism professor whose article about his state has created a furor there, is now in an "undisclosed location" that is not Iowa or Michigan (where he had been teaching this semester), he told the journalism blogger Jim Romenesko. He has been receiving threats about what many Iowans found to be offensive generalizations about the state. "Last night a man called my wife and suggested I be made into a lampshade. A blog refers to me as Jew Stephen Bloom. I have received scores of hate-filled e-mails that have threatened me or my family.”
Bloom said he plans to be back at Iowa to teach when the next semester begins January 2. "I’m not going to be bullied," he said. "I will be back in that classroom."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Board of Directors moved unusually quickly at its October meeting to approve legislation that would allow institutions (if their conference permits it) to award up to an additional $2,000 per student in scholarship funds, to better fill the gap between what full scholarships cover and the actual cost of attendance. Maybe too quickly, in fact: 125 colleges want the decision overturned, prompting an automatic suspension of the rule and an item on the docket for the board's next meeting Jan. 14 that could eliminate it entirely. At the meeting, the board can eliminate the rule, do nothing and allow an override vote by all Division I members to proceed, or alter the proposal to appease the colleges.
Collectively, they are concerned about four things, the NCAA said: how quickly the rule was implemented, possible impact on competitive equity, implications for gender equity laws under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and "application of the allowance" for athletes in equivalency sports, which are subject to NCAA limitations on how much scholarship money they can award. NCAA President Mark Emmert indicated in a statement that the legislation can be modified to address all the colleges' concerns. "Similarly, changes can be made that will clarify how this legislation can be implemented more smoothly and with less confusion," Emmert said. "Based on conversations I have had, I am confident that there remains a very high level of support for this permissive legislation to provide better support for our student athletes."
The president of the University of South Florida, Judy Genshaft, on Tuesday fired the head of the university's Polytechnic branch campus, the Associated Press reported. The dismissal comes amid an escalating dispute over the branch. Its supporters want it to become independent -- a move opposed by Genshaft. Others have said that construction costs at the new campus are too high.
The American Bar Association has denied provisional accreditation to the new law school at Lincoln Memorial University, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Tennessee permits people who are graduates of law schools that are not ABA accredited to sit for the state's bar exam, but lack of ABA accreditation may be more important for those who plan to work in other states. Officials at the law school are considering an appeal.
Western Washington University has fired its admissions director over practices she says were widely known for years and in place at other parts of the university, The Bellingham Herald reported. Karen Copetas, admissions director for more than 20 years, was found to have used scholarship money to pay students who work in her office, including at least four students who did not have legal status to reside in the United States. She says other departments at the university do the same thing and that senior officials know this -- statements that the university denies.