Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Missouri System announced Thursday that the University of Missouri Press will be phased out during the fiscal 2013 year. Officials cited the difficulty of providing financial support for the press, which currently receives a $400,000 annual subsidy. A spokeswoman said that the university was studying its contracts with authors whose books have been signed by the press, but whose works have not yet been published. In recent years, the press has attempted to cuts costs through a variety of measures (including layoffs) but savings were not sufficient, the university statement said. Numerous staff members at the press did not respond to calls seeking comment. Several presses have closed or suspended operations in recent years.



Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors announced Thursday that it has authorized a committee to investigate a decision by Southern University at Baton Rouge last year to declare a financial exigency and a proposed  reorganization that could lead to at least 35 faculty members losing their jobs. “The declaration of financial exigency and the reorganization plan went forward without adequate faculty input,” said Jennifer Nichols, senior program officer at the AAUP. “The declaration of this exigency gives the administrators more leeway in terminating tenured faculty members.” Nichols said that at least 10 tenured faculty members had received notices of termination so far.

According to The Advocate in Baton Rouge, the restructuring aims to cut about $8 million from the university’s budget in the next school year. Employees at the university were subjected to furloughs for the current fiscal year.

Administrators at the university have said that state budget cuts made the declaration of a financial emergency and a reorganization necessary, and they received input from faculty members during the process.

Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:00am

Robert J. Birgeneau, the chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, on Thursday issued a statement opposing a proposed state constitutional amendment that would limit out-of-state (including international) enrollment to 10 percent -- roughly twice the limit Berkeley uses. "Our policy of increasing non-resident undergraduate enrollment to 20 percent of our student body is crucial to ensuring a predictable and reliable revenue stream and maintaining affordability for our California students while also enriching the educational experience for our students," Birgeneau wrote. "Students from other parts of the United States, and from around the world, are valuable members of the Cal community and it has been my long-held view that an increase in out-of-state and international undergraduate students is a critical educational goal at Berkeley. In addition to generating funds for educational support and financial aid, they also bring perspectives, experiences, and cultures to the campus, that benefit all students."

State Senator Michael Rubio, who proposed the amendment, said that he wanted to ensure that "California students get a fair shot at attending our University of California system -- and not be turned away simply because a wealthy student from the East Coast or abroad shows up with a checkbook in hand."


Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Gottfried of Michigan State University reveals advances in our understanding of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the implications for the study of human evolution. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska failed to comply with numerous provisions of federal financial aid rules and should be forced to repay at least $233,000 to the government, the U.S. Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this month. Among other things, the agency said, the two-year college improperly disbursed federal aid to students who did not have high school diplomas or had not passed ability-to-benefit tests, to students who exceeded the maximum number of allowable credit hours of remedial coursework, and students who did not satisfy academic progress requirements. College officials disputed some of the inspector general's findings, which will go to Education Secretary Arne Duncan for potential action.


Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Lon Morris College, a private, two-year institution in Texas, has placed all but 11 employees on furloughs, KLTV reported. Miles McCall, the president, has resigned. College officials said that they have called off the two summer sessions that had been planned. Consultants will work this summer on a plan to restore the college to financial health. Employees have also been told that the college stopped paying for health insurance, so they should expect termination of their insurance soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the State Higher Education Executive Officers have created a panel to study the regulation of distance education. The commission will be led by Richard W. Riley, the former secretary of education. The issue of how the federal and state governments regulate online programs has grown increasingly fractious in the wake of new rules crafted by the Obama administration.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is today announcing $50 million in grants to help 47 small colleges and universities collaborate to improve their science curriculums, involve more students in undergraduate research, prepare more K-12 science teachers, and increase diversity of science students. The grants range in size from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 4:37am

Harvard University's alumni association is apologizing for including submissions from the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, in the directory for the 50th reunion for the Class of 1962, of which he is a member. The Associated Press reported that the association has said that it regrets "any distress that it may have caused others" to have included the entries, in which Kaczynski describes his occupation as "prisoner" and his awards as "eight life sentences."

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 4:39am

A survey of 500 college students has found that 67 percent can't go more than an hour without using some sort of digital technology, and that 40 percent can't go more than 10 minutes. The independently conducted survey was prepared for CourseSmart, which sells e-textbooks on behalf of leading publishers. The survey found that students today are more likely to bring a laptop to class than to bring a textbook.



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