The Georgia Board of Regents on Tuesday approved a plan to merge 8 of the 35 institutions in the University System of Georgia. The consolidations of four pairs of colleges will take 12 to 18 months, said the system's relatively new chancellor, Henry (Hank) Huckaby. The system hopes to increase academic offerings and cut back on administrative costs with the mergers. Some jobs will be eliminated.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Wisconsin authorities have charged an inmate with -- while behind bars -- running a diploma mill, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In one case, the inmate convinced a fellow inmate to have his mother mail in a check for $1,700 so he could be enrolled in what was a fake university.
An alumnus called off a planned $1 million donation to Kent State University after the student newspaper there started looking into inquiries by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into his business 12 years ago, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported. The withdrawal came a day before the university was to honor the donor at a men's basketball game. The student newspaper's article about its investigation may be found here.
A woman was killed and 22 people were injured at the University of Johannesburg when a stampede broke out among students desperate for a limited number of new spaces to enroll, BBC reported. The woman was the mother of a student who had been waiting with him. The university recently announced that it had an additional 800 places, but more than 9,000 people applied for them. Ihron Rensburg, the vice chancellor, told journalists: "We're deeply saddened and I'm personally anguished about this."
New questions are being raised about the hazing death of Robert Champion, a student who was in the Florida A&M University marching band when he died in November. The New York Times reported that Champion's parents have revealed that he was gay, but have suggested that was not the reason he may have been a hazing target. The real reason, they have suggested, is that he had taken a strong stand against hazing.
In her first extensive interview since her work was dropped from Newt Gingrich's next book, Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, defended climate science and criticized the politicization of the issue. Hayhoe spoke to The Guardian, saying: "I really, really deplore the politicization and polarization of this issue. There are these increasingly unprincipled attempts to polarize the science when the science is fact -- like the sky is blue, the grass is green and the temperature of our planet is increasing."
Gingrich is getting ready to publish a collection of essays on environmental issues, and Hayhoe had been included. But she was dropped after Rush Limbaugh criticized her inclusion. National Journal published an article about, and video of, Gingrich being approached by a would-be supporter who had heard Limbaugh's criticism, and who was reassured when Gingrich assured her that the essay would be removed from his book.
The Board of Governors of the California community college system on Monday voted to endorse recommendations from a state task force that seeks to improve student success amid a backdrop of deep budget cuts. The recommendations include more of an emphasis on first-time students who are on-track to a degree or credential, a controversial shift for a system that has long been steadfastly committed to open access. But the task force and system leaders argue that the 112 colleges are already rationing slots, having turned away 140,000 students in a recent year, with an estimated 200,000 who will be frozen out this year. California's Legislature is scheduled to consider the recommendations in the next two months.
Flawed efforts to restructure Washington's higher education governance and skyrocketing tuition have the state's college and university system "adrift" at a crucial time for its high-tech economy, according to the second in a series of analyses of state higher education governance and policy by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, "Policy and Leadership Vacuum Undermines Higher Education in Washington," was produced by the State Review Project at Penn's Institute for Research on Higher Education, which released an analysis of Illinois in November.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand lower court rulings dismissing a lawsuit by a men’s sports advocacy group opposed to James Madison University’s 2006 decision to eliminate seven men’s teams and three women’s teams. Equity in Athletics, an advocacy group, had argued that James Madison “overdid its elimination of male athletes," violating Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The U.S. Education Department was added to the case because the group challenged the federal agency's enforcement of Title IX.