Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 4:55am

The average assistant football coach at the National Collegiate Athletic Association's top competitive level saw his pay rise by 11 percent this year, and the total salaries of the assistant coaches for at least five programs rose above $3 million, USA Today reported. The article, the newspaper's third such survey of assistant coaches' pay, found an 18 percent increase over all since 2009 among assistant coaches at 97 institutions that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (the division has a total of 120 members, but many private universities refused to provide their salary data to USA Today). The top-paid assistant (earning $1.3 million) was at Auburn University, while Louisiana State University and the Universities of Alabama, Texas at Austin, Tennessee at Knoxville and Florida all paid their football assistants at least $3 million cumulatively.

By comparison, the average salary for professors rose 1.4 percent in 2010-11, the latest year for which data are available, according to the American Association of University Professors.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

New Hampshire officials have certified a union for adjuncts at Plymouth State University based on a vote by those off the tenure track to start collective bargaining, The Citizen reported. The vote was 60 to 43. The new union will be affiliated with the State Employees Association of New Hampshire. Adjuncts said that they believed they could get better wages and working conditions with a union.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 4:41am

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.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Susan Martonosi of Harvey Mudd College reveals the role mathematics plays in determining how quickly you move through airport security lines. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 4:43am

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.


internal audit found evidence that she had illegally used scholarship money as compensation for students who worked in her office, including at least four students who did not have legal immigrant status.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/12/21/1952992/wwu-admissions-boss-fir...

internal audit found evidence that she had illegally used scholarship money as compensation for students who worked in her office, including at least four students who did not have legal immigrant status.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/12/21/1952992/wwu-admissions-boss-fir...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Leighton Andrews, the minister of education for Wales, is calling for the merger of three Welsh universities -- University of Glamorgan, Cardiff Metropolitan University and University of Wales, Newport -- Times Higher Education reported. Cardiff Metropolitan has already rejected the idea. Andrews said that a merged institution would have "real critical mass."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

State community college leaders say they are struggling to meet workforce training needs because of high unemployment levels and budget woes, according to a new report from the University of Alabama's Education Policy Center. The report, which was based on a survey of two-year system leaders in 50 states, found strained job training capacities at community colleges in 35 states. And federal workforce training funds have been exhausted in 21 states, according to the report. "Right now, workforce training is an underfunded Band-Aid," said Stephen G. Katsinas, the center's director and a coauthor of the report.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A federal advisory panel has asked scientific journals not to publish some details of experiments involving certain viruses, saying that the information could be used by terrorists to create and spread deadly viruses, The New York Times reported. The panel does not have the power to force the journals to keep anything secret, and suggested that the journals find ways to share information with scientists to allow them to further advance work on the viruses. The editor of Science said that the journal was considering the request and might hold back some information.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

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." 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 4:39am

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.


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