Higher Education Quick Takes
United States University, a for-profit institution has agreed to pay $686,720 to the government to settle a civil suit filed over the filing of fraudulent financial aid applications, KPBS reported Federal officials said that the case was notable because they had brought criminal and civil cases against the institution. Christina Miller, who was the director of financial aid, pleaded guilty to falsifying federal records (Pell Grant applications) and could face up to a year in prison. Officials of the university did not respond to requests for comment.
The Digital Public Library of America, an online repository of the nation's historical and cultural riches, will launch as scheduled tomorrow, though its formal opening event has been canceled by Monday's attacks in Boston, the project's director announced Tuesday. In the statement, Dan Cohen noted that the bombings took place in close proximity to the Boston Public Library, where the opening event was to be held. (That is also right near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the target of the attacks.) The fact that the area near the library has been closed, and the need for the library's staff members, "like so many other honorable public servants in Boston, ... to be there for the surrounding community first," make canceling the event the obvious choice, he said. A larger event will be held in the fall.
But "[t]he new DPLA site will still go live at noon ET on Thursday as planned, and we look forward to sharing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. Although we have canceled all of the formal events, DPLA staff will be available all day online, and informally in person in the late afternoon in the Boston area (at a location to be determined), for those taking their first look," Cohen said. "I see the building of a new library as one of the greatest examples of what humans can do together to extend the light against the darkness. In due time, we will let that light shine through."
Officials of the Los Angeles Community College District are calling it a "rebalancing" plan, but student leaders and others aren't going along. The Los Angeles Times reported that the plan involves cutting the $1,500 monthly car allowance top administrators receive to $500, and then using the extra $1,000 a month to give raises to those administrators. The plan is based on the idea that the administrators are underpaid, compared to others in California. But student leaders and their backers say that the district shouldn't be paying top officials to drive to and from work, and that any savings should go to restoring some of the class sections that have been cut in recent years.
Students in Australia are protesting more than $2 billion in proposed cuts to higher education, which, according to Universities Australia, represents the largest funding reduction since the 1990s. hope to flesh this out slightly and add link if/when Universities Australia website comes back online
The Washington Post's Fact Checker column gave Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that prospective foreign students are being deterred by fears of gun violence a three-Pinocchio rating (out of four). The Post noted that although students from Japan (the specific country in question) are on the decline, the Institute of International Education’s analysis of the phenomenon does not cite concerns about student safety but rather “the effects of a rapidly aging Japanese population and other factors including the global economy and the recruiting cycle of Japanese companies.” Over all, the number of international students in the U.S. is on the rise.
The Post faulted Kerry for relying on mere anecdotal information and relaying it to a reporter.
Officials of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina are talking about a merger, The Post and Courier reported. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley organized the discussions, and said that he believed the city needed a comprehensive research university.
Western Michigan University has called off a plan to build a new dining hall that would have required the destruction of hundreds of trees, MLive.com reported. Students and faculty members have been campaigning against the dining hall, and the university agreed to call off the original plan and look for alternatives. "As we studied the proposed site and plans for a new dining hall in the valley and received the final environmental assessment by our staff, it became clear that the project would have required the removal of more than 500 trees -- a far larger number than original estimates," said President John Dunn in an e-mail to the campus.
Colleges need to start tracking retention rates not only by various factors widely considered today (race, gender, socioeconomic background) but by sexual orientation, according to a paper released by ACPA: College Student Educators International and by Campus Pride. The paper notes that, to do so, colleges need to start finding out how many students of different orientations they have -- and many colleges don't ask that question. But the report says that, given various pressures on gay students, it is wrong not to consider whether they are graduating at different rates from straight students.
"Colleges and universities are responsible for the education and safety of all students, including their LGBT students," the paper says. "Colleges and universities need to know and count their out LGBT students to provide necessary services and/or maintain proper safety and campus climate. Demographic questions asking students about their sexual orientation and gender identity give administrators the data they need to properly implement LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. Doing so will not be easy as different from other identity groups, LGBT student identity is fluid and often evolves during the college years. But, if our institutions of higher learning can achieve complex tasks like landing a spacecraft on Mars, we can certainly figure out this challenge."
Fredrik Logevall, a Cornell University historian, and Sharon Olds, a professor of poetry at New York University, were among the recipients Monday of Pulitzer Prizes for their written works.
Logevall, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and Professor of History at Cornell and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, won one of the coveted awards for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam (Random House), his study of how U.S. leaders enmeshed the country in a fateful war. Olds, who teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University, received her Pulitzer for Stag's Leap, (Alfred A. Knopf), which her citation describes as a "book of unflinching poems on the author’s divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge."
The two authors each receive $10,000.