Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 3, 2014

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, is being blocked by the State Senate over a controversial nominee to the Board of Regents of New Mexico Highlands University, The New Mexican reported. The nominee, Carl G. Foster, was formerly an adjunct at the university and he has sued an academic dean, a vice president, and the Board of Regents that he hopes to join. State senators said that they didn't like the idea of appointing to a board someone who is suing that board. Foster responded by dropping the lawsuit, but that hasn't won him support.

 

March 3, 2014

Northwood University, a private institution in Michigan, announced that it is closing its residential undergraduate programs in Texas, but is keeping its adult and graduate programs. A statement from the university said that "[t]hese significant actions will ensure its Texas operations' ongoing relevance, vitality, and financial strength to provide students with a world-class business education." The Dallas Morning News reported that the programs being closed will force about 400 students to transfer, and will cost the jobs of 60 full-time faculty and staff members.

 

March 3, 2014

Study abroad to Ukraine has been limited, and only 131 Americans studied there in 2011-12, according to information from the Institute of International Education. The Eastern European Study Abroad program, however, does have a program currently operating in Kharkiv, which is in eastern Ukraine. The program posted an update on Thursday saying that the students were doing well, that local universities were all operating, and that the program was "taking all necessary measurements to maintain a safe environment for all EESA participants." That update was posted before the Russian invasion of Crimea, however. The program did not respond to an email request for more current information on the Americans in Kharkiv.

 

March 3, 2014

The Iowa Board of Regents held a special meeting Friday at which members criticized Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa, for a recent comment she made about sexual assault, The Gazette reported. In an interview with The Daily Iowan, the student newspaper, Mason said that completely eliminating sexual assaults is “probably not a realistic goal, just given human nature." The comment angered many at Iowa, which is among the universities being criticized for not doing enough about sexual assault, and Mason has apologized for her comment. Regent President Pro-tem Katie Mulholland said at the meeting Friday that Mason's comment had been “inappropriate," and that board members remain "very concerned" that women on campus were hurt by the comment and don't feel enough is being done. Mulholland said that Mason needed to do a better job of communicating on the issue.


 

March 3, 2014

More California State University campuses are adopting or proposing "student success fees" of $200 to $500 per semester to add sections, counseling and other services that promote degree completion, The Los Angeles Times reported. The campuses say that they need the funds, noting that the relatively good budget year they are having doesn't come close to making up for the cuts of previous years. But students and others say that these fees are paying for expenses that tuition is supposed to cover, and that the fees run counter to pledges to the state about minimizing tuition increases.

 

March 3, 2014

Some faculty members are concerned that Bryan College, a Christian institution in Tennessee, is making its required statement of faith so specific in its Biblical literalism that it may be difficult for them to teach there, The Times Free Press reported.

Like many Christian colleges, Bryan requires faculty members to sign and abide by a statement of faith, which has said in part that "the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death." That statement of faith has been broad enough that some faculty members have said they can believe in evolution and also sign the statement, arguing that they believe evolution was divinely inspired. But the Bryan board has adopted changes to make the statement more specific, and that's why some faculty members believe their beliefs are being declared unwelcome. The addition to the statement says: "We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms."

Bryan College's anti-evolution stance dates to its founding. The college was founded in 1930 in honor of William Jennings Bryan, the lawyer who crusaded against evolution in the Scopes trial.

March 3, 2014

Columbia University is ending academic credit for internships, Newsweek reported. The move is designed to prod internship providers to pay students, as is generally required by federal labor law, even though many internships providers have not done so.

 

March 3, 2014

Four students at Boston University have been jailed over loud parties at their off-campus house, The Boston Globe reported. While police in many localities regularly shut down student parties, jail isn't typical. In this case, the students were cited for one party and given a warning that additional problems would be taken seriously. The party that sent the students to jail took place last month, and when authorities arrived at 1 a.m., students slammed the door to the house in their face, and locked it, while people (many of them not of legal drinking age) started jumping out of other doors and windows. When police made it inside, they found more than 1,000 beer cans.

 

March 3, 2014

On the heels of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement last week that it was suing for-profit education giant ITT Educational Services for engaging in predatory lending practices, one Democratic senator is calling on the Department of Education to also investigate the company. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat and longtime critic of for-profit colleges, on Friday sent a letter urging Education Secretary Arne Duncan “to investigate these troubling accusations and scrutinize ITT’s participation” in federal student aid programs.

Durbin also sent a letter to ITT’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, calling for the agency to “hold ITT accountable.”

Durbin previously sent similar letters to the Education Department in December asking for an investigation of Corinthian Colleges after a Huffington Post article said the company had hired graduates temporarily to artificially boost Corinthian's job placement rates. 

March 3, 2014

E. Gordon Gee plans to stay on as president of West Virginia University after both sides reversed course on what was supposed to be only a temporary posting. Gee, a 70-year-old, seven-time college president, became interim president of WVU in January after its president abruptly left for another job. The deal, as originally described publicly, was that Gee would stay only until the university found a new president and that he could not be a candidate.

But the presidential search committee passed a resolution Friday urging the university's board of governors to make Gee the permanent president. The board is expected to meet today in an emergency session to consider that plan. The state's higher education coordinating board would also need to sign off on the deal.

Board Chairman Jim Dailey told the Saturday Charleston Gazette-Mail he expected Gee to accept the job. "I was getting calls from, literally, all over the country from alumni and so forth," Dailey told the paper. "Everyone said, 'You need to keep him.'"

One member of the search committee, a professor, dissented from the process the committee used to decide to keep Gee, but told the Gazette-Mail he was a fan of Gee.

Pages

Back to Top