Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 8, 2013

The Army has suspended plans to eliminate Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs at 13 universities, most of them in rural and/or Southern parts of the country, The New York Times reported. The announcement of the plan to shut the ROTC units stunned the campuses involved, many of which said that they highly valued the programs. Army officials had said that they planned to shift resources to units in large urban areas. A number of the universities whose programs were slated for closure appealed to members of Congress for help, and on Thursday they saluted the lawmakers who helped them. Information from Arkansas State University -- which was active in the movement to save the ROTC units -- may be found here.

 

November 8, 2013

The University of Michigan on Thursday formally announced the launch of a $4 billion fund-raising campaign -- the largest ever for a public university. Michigan has already raised $1.7 billion. The top priority for the campaign (at $1 billion) is student aid.

 

November 8, 2013

Howard University has ended its relationship with a consulting firm through which Robert Tarola served as chief financial officer, The Washington Post reported. The university said that Tarola left by "mutual agreement." Many deans and other faculty members have criticized Tarola, questioning his plans to put the university on better financial ground. Last month Sidney Ribeau announced he was leaving the Howard presidency.

 

November 8, 2013

Some students at Washington University in St. Louis are condemning a Halloween costume, photos of which have circulated online, showing students as U.S. soldiers standing over a student who is playing a Muslim, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The student playing the Muslim has a fake beard and turban, and critics say the image perpetuates stereotypes.

 

November 8, 2013

President Obama on Thursday nominated Ericka M. Miller, vice president for operations and strategic leadership at the Education Trust, to be assistant secretary for postsecondary education. If Miller is confirmed by the Senate, she would largely complete the team of political leaders who will guide the Education Department's higher ed agenda in the president's second term.

Miller has spent six years at Education Trust, which advocates for educational equity at all levels, particularly on behalf of students from low-income backgrounds. Much of Miller's work at Ed Trust and previously has focused on elementary and secondary education. Before her current position, she led the K-12 practice at the executivfe search firm Isaacson Miller, ran an education consulting firm, and worked as a legislative assistant for then-U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat.

Earlier in her career she was an assistant professor of English at Mills College, an independent women's college in California. (She started her career in journalism, at Washingtonian magazine.)

Miller, who is not well-known in Washington higher ed policy circles, would join an Education Department team that would include Ted Mitchell, the New Schools Venture Fund chief who President Obama nominated last month as under secretary of education, and Jamienne Studley, who was named deputy under secretary of education this fall.

November 8, 2013

More than 1,000 people rallied on the Lehigh University campus to protest vandalism found at the multicultural dorm Wednesday night, Lehigh Valley Live reported. Early Wednesday morning, someone threw eggs at the residence hall and spray-painted derogatory terms on and around the buildings. The rally was led by a student group calling itself From Beneath the Rug, which formed this year to "represent and fight for marginalized groups on campus and people who feel like their voices aren't and should be heard," one member said.

November 7, 2013

Faculty at Wellesley College have voted to continue the institution's partnership with Peking University, subject to oversight by the college's Academic Council, according to Thomas Cushman, a professor of sociology who spearheaded a letter-writing campaign on behalf of Xia Yeliang, an associate professor of economics at Peking who was fired in October. Many view Xia's termination as retribution for his criticism of the Chinese government, although the university says the decision was based on his teaching and research record. More than 130 Wellesley faculty members had signed a letter objecting to the termination of Xia “based solely on his political and philosophical views” and saying that they would urge the Wellesley administration to reconsider the college’s institutional partnership with Peking if it fired Xia.

Wellesley is expected to release a statement on the matter today. In a previous statement, the college's president, H. Kim Bottomly, indicated she is supportive of efforts to bring Xia to Wellesley as a visiting scholar.

 

November 7, 2013

The University of California System raised $400,000 in relatively small gifts (averaging about $75) through a crowd-funding campaign for scholarships, and officials said that the effort was successful not only in bringing in money but raising awareness about the need for scholarships, The Los Angles Times reported. For the campaign, individuals pledged to do certain things in return for donations. One student at UC Merced wore a horse head mask for a week after donors agreed to donate. Michael Drake, chancellor at Irvine, will lead donors on a bike ride.

November 7, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, John Broich of Case Western Reserve University explores the contentious history of the municipal water supply. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 7, 2013

Officials at the University of Maryland at College Park knew that many fans would react its move to the Big Ten "emotionally and negatively," so the university planned a public relations campaign to win them over, according to documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Many fans were bothered by the loss of long-time regional rivalries, among other issues. Maryland's response was to "plant positive comments into fan message boards," the article said. Email messages exchanged among university officials talked about seeing all the negative reaction and working to change attitudes. One official talked of plans to "engage professional assistance in helping to drop positive messages into the blogs, comments and message board sites. I will arrange for this service today."


 

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