Higher Education Quick Takes
A feature in The New York Times explores Liberty University's ambition to rise to the top ranks of college football. University officials believe that much as the University of Notre Dame used football to become a focus of pride for Roman Catholics (most of whom have no direct tie to the institution), Liberty could do the same for evangelical Protestants. A key obstacle: Liberty's conduct rules (an alcohol ban on and off campus, for instance) may make recruiting difficult. Another caution: Liberty made a similar push to replicate Notre Dame's model in the late 1980s, hiring a former coach of the Cleveland Browns to lead its teams. The effort did not take off.
Students at Westminster College, in Utah, held a protest Wednesday in which they taped their mouths shut to protest the recent removal by the administration of the student body president, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The administration acted after the student body president attended a college event while drunk. The protest organizers said that since the student government opted not to impeach the president, the administration should have respected that decision.
Just 10 weeks after its longtime president, Richard Levin, announced that he would step down at the end of the academic year, Yale University announced Thursday that Peter Salovey (right), the university's provost and a professor of psychology, would become its 23rd president. The expedited search (the norm for presidential searches is between six months and a year) was even faster than that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which made headlines earlier this year for appointing its provost after only three months.
Back then, search consultants said they were seeing more demand for quick searches, since it helps remove uncertainty in leadership.
Career Education Corp. on Thursday announced that it would close 23 of 90 campuses and lay off 900 employees to cope with declining revenue and enrollment. The for-profit chain has been hit hard by what a company official called "new market realities," and has seen its total and new student numbers dip by roughly 22 percent compared to last year. It also reported an operating loss of $110 million for the year through October. The company is taking the "difficult step" of downsizing as part of a plan for a strategic turnaround as a "simplified and more nimble organization," said Steven H. Lesnik, its president and CEO, in a written statement. Career Education Corp. is also facing scrutiny from its accreditors.
Nicholas B. Dirks, executive vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, was on Thursday named as the next chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. Dirks is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History at Columbia and the author of three books on India.
Many scientists were outraged when a video surfaced in October of Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, saying that evolution and embryology were "lies straight from the pit of hell." Broun was running for re-election unopposed, so it seemed there was little they could do.
But a write-in campaign for Charles Darwin attracted nearly 4,000 votes, and other write-in votes went to "Bill Nye, the Science Guy," Big Bird and "Anyone but Broun," The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The Darwin campaign was organized by Jim Leebens-Mack, the University of Georgia plant biologist, who said that he hopes the votes will encourage someone to challenge Broun in the next election. Leebens-Mack spread word about the Darwin idea on a Facebook page.
The California State University System is proposing a series of new fees designed to encourage students to graduate on time so that more space is available for other students, The Los Angeles Times reported. The proposal would add fees for "super seniors, those who have already earned 160 semester unit credits; for students who want to repeat a course; and for students who enroll in 18 credits or more in a semester.
The University of Waterloo will close its campus in Dubai because of inadequate enrollment and an inability to form partnerships for research, The Record of Waterloo reported. Waterloo opened its campus in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, with ambitions to enroll 500 students by this fall. But a statement from the university Tuesday said that the 80 students enrolled on the Dubai campus could finish their educations on the university's home campus in Ontario.