The Alabama Board of Education bought out the contract of Freida Hill, chancellor of the state's community college system, on Wednesday, The Birmingham News reported. Hill and board members agreed not to make disparaging remarks about one another. Hill has been in the office for two years. An evaluation of her performance noted that some board members were critical of her performance, but that others defended her. Hill came into office following a scandal that involved convictions of a former chancellor, a former college president and state legislators.
Higher Education Quick Takes
An anonymous website over the weekend posted confidential information about McGill University donors, including the size of past gifts, how much the university hoped to obtain from future gifts, personal phone numbers and more, The Montreal Gazette reported. Authorities are investigating how the information was obtained, and the university was able to get the hosts for the site to take it down. The university sent an e-mail message to all donors, pledging to find out what happened and to prevent future such leaks.
Utah State University Press -- for several years a target of budget cut plans at its home institution -- is merging into the University Press of Colorado. The Utah State press will continue to publish books as an imprint of the Colorado publisher. The Colorado press has been supported by eight colleges and universities in Colorado and will now receive some support from Utah State as well. But Utah State officials said that their overall spending would decrease once the merger is complete.
The DePauw University visiting journalism professor who used a student's arrest records to teach a lesson about public documents won't be sanctioned, the professor, Mark Tatge, said in a statement Wednesday. Students had complained after Tatge gave his class information on an athlete's arrest on suspicion of resisting arrest, public drunkenness and being a minor in possession of alcohol. The information was all publicly available. In a statement released to Inside Higher Ed on Wednesday, Tatge said he had "learned some things" from the process but maintained that his lesson was legitimate and not mean-spirited.
"I in no way meant to call attention to or to embarrass anyone," he wrote. "My goal here was merely to teach students about public records and make them better critical thinkers by using actual records filed in a public, open Indiana court."
He was also critical of the university's handling of the situation. "I feel the university did a poor job of communicating the intentions and procedures behind its review process to the media," he wrote. "I am committed to working with officials here in hope this kind of situation can be avoided in the future so another DePauw professor does not witness this same kind of communication breakdown."
Israel's Council for Higher Education has approved the nation's first plan to encourage universities to hire more women as faculty members, Haaretz reported. Women are well-represented in the student ranks and the junior faculty slots, but only 15 percent of full professors are women. The plan calls on universities to develop family-friendly policies, to appoint advisers to help presidents develop strategies for recruiting and to keep better data on the status of women in academe.
Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, announced Tuesday that he will retire in September. Scott's career has mixed academe and politics. He has been president of Pasadena City College and Cypress College, and was an influential legislator on education issues during terms in California's Assembly and Senate. Scott became chancellor in 2009, and served in the role during a time of huge budget cuts and increased enrollment demands. California's community college system is highly decentralized, and Scott both pushed for more funds and for reforms that he said were needed in light of dwindling dollars.
Cliopatria -- a group blog about history (broadly defined) -- is shutting down after more than 8 years of almost daily publication. Led by Ralph Luker, the blog attracted many historian/writers over the years who are web personalities, people like KC Johnson, Hugo Schwyzer, Claire Potter, Sean Wilentz and many others (including Inside Higher Ed columnist Scott McLemee). The blog was hosted by the History News Network.
Florida State University has agreed to pay $75,000 each to two blind students who sued the institution, charging that it was using instructional materials that had not been made available in forms they could use. The university denied wrongdoing but agreed to examine various technology tools to make sure they are made accessible to all.
Two Texas universities reported Tuesday that, working with community colleges, they can offer degrees that cost only $10,000 over four years, The Texas Tribune reported. Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, set that goal, whose feasibility was questioned by many educators. But Texas A&M at San Antonio is about to offer a bachelor's in information technology with an emphasis on cyber security that will cost about $9,700. And Texas A&M at Commerce will soon offer a bachelor's of applied science in organizational leadership for under $10,000.