A plane crash Thursday night killed Kurt Budke, the women's basketball coach at Oklahoma State University, and the assistant women’s basketball coach, Miranda Serna. The crash took place in Arkansas, where they were on a recruiting trip.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Universities of Cambridge and Toronto have just announced fund-raising records for universities in Europe and Canada, respectively.
Cambridge announced that its fund-raising campaign in honor of the university's 800th anniversary has raised £1.17 (or about $2 billion), more than any European university has ever raised.
Less than two months ago, the University of British Columbia announced a $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign, at the time the largest such effort in Canada. Now the University of Toronto has that record, having launched a $2 billion campaign. Toronto has raised $966 million in the quiet phase of the fund-raising effort.
The best give-aways at the book exhibit of the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association this year -- to judge by how many people were wearing them -- were two buttons distributed by Oxford University Press. The buttons were a reply to Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who has angered many anthropologists by saying that Florida doesn't need any more of them. One button reads "Florida Anthropologists: We Support You." The other says: "Actually Rick, Florida could use a few more anthropologists."
The Utah Board of Regents on Friday voted to require all public colleges to have systems in place for period post-tenure reviews of faculty members, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy responds to complaints from some legislators who have sought to ban tenure.
Among new developments and articles of note on the Pennsylvania State University scandal:
- Rodney Erickson, who was named interim president last week when Graham Spanier stepped down, is no longer interim. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the board has removed the word "interim" from his title, and no longer plans to conduct a national search for a replacement for Spanier. A spokeswoman said: "Under normal circumstances a national search would be conducted over a period of a year or more, with the help of an executive search committee. Under our current situation, which is obviously unprecedented, the board has taken the action to name the president who they believe will lead us forward."
- Michael Bérubé, the Paterno Family Professor in Literature and director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about Joe Paterno's contributions to academic advances at the university (including creation of the chair Bérubé holds) and the need for a greater faculty role in decision-making such that "shared governance" becomes meaningful at the institution.
- The National Collegiate Athletic Association told Penn State officials last week that it would investigate whether the sex abuse scandal indicates a failure by the university to exercise "institutional control" over the sports program. While allegations of sexual abuse of children might seem outside the NCAA's normal purview of academic dishonesty and improper payments to players, Mark Emmert, the NCAA's president, noted in a letter to Erickson that the NCAA's rulebook contains a broad prohibition against unethical conduct, and cited a specific provision that campus officials must do more than just "avoid improper conduct or questionable acts." They have an "affirmative" obligation, too, the rulebook states; "[t]heir own moral values must be so certain and positive that those younger and more pliable will be influenced by a fine example."
At least seven additional people are expected to turn themselves in in a Long Island scandal in which some people are accused of paying others to take the SAT or ACT for them, The New York Times reported. An additional round of arrests in September sparked considerable debate about the adequacy of test-taking security.
Thirty-two American students were named Saturday as Rhodes Scholars. As is typically the case, many students who won attended elite private universities, with more than one winner each from Brown, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford Universities. But this year's winners also include two from the University of Washington and one each from California State University at Long Beach, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Kansas. The winners receive funds for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford.
Faculty members at two campuses of the California State University System -- Dominguez Hills and East Bay -- held one-day strikes on Thursday, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The faculty members are frustrated by slow progress in contract talks and by continued cuts to the university system's budget. University administrators say that they sympathize but lack the funds to meet the faculty members' demands.
Students at Queen's University in Canada have a reputation for being a little spoiled, a little rich and a little hedonistic, so a student comedy group made a parody of an admissions video playing up the stereotypes rather than trying to challenge them, Maclean's reported. The parody -- which might well work at many colleges -- is called "I Go to Queen's."
The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Thursday issued a report finding that the Education Department lacks sufficient data on distance education programs to adequately perform oversight functions on the use of federal aid. While the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics is starting to collect more data, the GAO found that oversight units in the department do not yet have a plan for using that data.