The board of the University of Virginia is once again taking steps that raise questions about micromanaging and undercutting President Teresa Sullivan, The Washington Post reported. The board and Sullivan recently exchanged drafts about the goals on which her performance will be evaluated. Helen Dragas, a board member who last year engineered the aborted move to oust Sullivan, gave Sullivan a highly detailed list of 65 goals. Sullivan responded by noting that university presidents typically receive broad goals from their boards, not detailed lists. Sullivan also responded -- according to e-mail messages the Post obtained -- by noting that 22 of Dragas's goals had not previously been discussed, that several required board action, and that one “requires me to do something that the General Counsel tells me I am not legally authorized to do.”
Higher Education Quick Takes
The chair of architecture at the University of Utah, Prescott Muir, has agreed to stay on, reversing his decision to leave the position, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Muir's departure was widely blamed by students and faculty members on Brenda Case Scheer, dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at Utah. She issued an apology for making decisions about Muir "without full information," and that apology cleared the way for Muir to stay on.
William Stewart has resigned as a trustee of Southwestern College, a community college in California, saying that the administration was not providing accurate information to trustees or the faculty union with which it is negotiating. The college's student newspaper, The Sun, published the resignation letter, in which Stewart said that "without information, without all information, oversight is a sham." Stewart is a philosophy professor at San Diego City College. A spokeswoman for Southwestern told NBC 7 San Diego that "we would have to respectfully disagree with" Stewart's statement. "We've been providing all the budget information the board and the union has asked for. We're just sorry he chose to resign."
Colleges have long been known for sale of T-shirts, coffee mugs and so forth. The latest item for sale, reported The New York Times, is beef. Washington State University is selling premium beef for $9.50 a pound, enough to cover costs and also make up for state budget cuts.
A few hours before President Obama signed an order officially instating across-the-board spending cuts Friday night, the U.S. Education Department issued guidance on what the automatic budget cuts would mean for federal financial aid programs. The Pell Grant is exempt from the mandatory cuts in 2013. But loan origination fees will increase immediately for new loans, by about 0.05 percentage points on subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, from 1 percent to 1.05 percent, and by about 0.2 percentage points, from 4 percent to 4.2 percent, on Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS loans. The first disbursements of some grants — the TEACH Grant and Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant — are also subject to cuts.
Funding will be reduced for the federal work-study program and for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant beginning in the fall if sequestration remains in effect.
Presidents of many of Colorado's four-year universities sent a letter last month in which they urged legislators to oppose a bill that would allow the state's community colleges to offer bachelor's degrees in a select number of fields, The Denver Post reported. The presidents, signed by the leaders of the University of Colorado and Colorado State University Systems, among others, argued that the new degrees would create overlap in institutional missions and strain already limited state funding, the newspaper reported.
Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System, cited significant unmet demand in fields such as dental hygiene and culinary arts and said that the state's higher education commission would have to approve any new degree programs, ensuring that there was not overlap, the Post said.
Bridgepoint Education Inc. announced Thursday that its Ashford University has been placed "on notice" by the for-profit college's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The sanction, which is less serious than probation, is based on the commission's concerns about Ashford's inability to meet new standards for accreditation, which the commission put into effect in January, as well as Ashford's current noncompliance with the accreditor's "substantial presence policy" (which requires institutions to have a meaningful physical presence in the agency's geographic region), according to a Bridgepoint corporate filing. Ashford last year had its bid rejected for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. And the commission's sanction follows a site team's recommendation last week that the University of Phoenix be put on probation.
Rumors abound in Russia that many top leaders have degrees that they didn't really earn, but some officials are starting to tackle the issue of plagiarism. Time reported that the deputy minister of education and science reviewed 25 dissertations at random from the history department at Moscow Pedagogical State University. With one exception, all were found to be extensively plagiarized, with some having as much as 90 percent of the material copied.
The University of Utah suspended its head swimming coach Thursday after allegations surfaced that he had engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old member of a swim club he coached in Arizona several years ago, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Maricopa County (Ariz.) attorney’s office is reviewing the allegations against Greg Winslow, and no charges have been filed yet, the newspaper said. In a statement provided to the newspaper, the university's athletics director, Chris Hill, noted that the student allegedly involved in the incident had no affiliation with the university. But "I feel the allegations are serious enough to suspend [Winslow] immediately pending further investigation," Hill said.