Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

The Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University has endorsed the first-ever contract accord with the institution's new union for adjunct faculty members, AnnArbor.com reported. The union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, was formed last summer and represents about 800 part-time or contingent instructors. The members of the new EMU Federation of Teachers ratified the contract last week, and Eastern Michigan's board approved it Tuesday. “This affords the lecturers an important sense of stability,” Geoff Larcom, a university spokesman, told AnnArbor.com. “To get this deal done is significant, given it’s their first contract and given their extreme value of the students and the university.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

When Burlington College's Board of Trustees meets next week, one item on its agenda will be the fate of President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Normally, at a private college like Burlington, which isn't subject to open-meetings laws, potential consideration of dumping a president would be kept top secret. But the Burlington Free Press reports that an agenda for the upcoming meeting contained a not-very-subtle item: "Removal of the President." Sanders, whose husband is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, confirmed to the newspaper that the "leadership of the board and I are engaged in ongoing discussions regarding the future of Burlington College and its leadership.” The board's chairman, Adam Dantzscher, also confirmed that the phrase had appeared on the written agenda, but declined to discuss the matter further.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Jobs for the Future has begun a program that provides community colleges with up-to-date information about the hiring and skill needs of local employers. Dubbed "Credentials That Work," the initiative uses new technology that can aggregate and analyze online job ads. Participating community colleges can use the labor market data to adjust their program offerings and course curriculums, according to the group. The Joyce and Lumina Foundations are funding the program, and this month 10 community colleges began using the technology. Jobs for the Future has also released a related report about alignment between community colleges and their local job markets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system committee for each search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

About 1 million additional 19- to 25-year-olds obtained health insurance in the first three months of 2011, at least in part thanks to a provision in President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation, which raised by six years the age at which young adults are no longer eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. The total of young adults with health insurance rose from 66.1 percent of the relevant age group in 2010 to 69.6 percent in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday; however, it is unclear how many of these newly covered 19- to 26-year-olds are college students. The news was celebrated by Young Invincibles, the health care advocacy group that has backed Obama’s legislation, which would also subject student health plans provided through colleges and universities to additional provisions beginning in the 2012 academic year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

St. Francis University, in Pennsylvania, has withdrawn an invitation to Ellen Goodman, the columnist, to give a talk about civility. The reason for the nixed invitation, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, is that Goodman supports abortion rights, a view that did not go over well with leaders of the Roman Catholic institution. "After careful consideration, the university feels that the body of your work has reflected statements that are not in close enough alignment with some Catholic teachings and with the values and mission of the university as required for an event of this stature," Provost Wayne Powel wrote to Goodman. Her reply: "Imagine my disappointment at having my plea for civility returned with a pie in the face."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Kinney of the State University of New York at Buffalo examines the evidences for and against the existence of a sibling universe. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The Modern Language Association has released some moderately good news about the job market. In January, the MLA projected (in an improvement from recent years) that job listings would be relatively level for 2010-11. Now the association has released a detailed analysis of the year's findings. According to a new report, the number of jobs listed with the MLA in 2010-11 rose by 8.2 percent in English and by 7.1 percent in foreign languages. Still, however, the number of jobs listed in 2010-11 remains below the peak in 2007-8.

Via e-mail, Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the MLA, said: "While the increase is modest, it is nevertheless good news to see that there were more opportunities for employment in the fields of English and other modern languages than in the previous year. We've noticed in recent hiring cycles that departments announce positions later in the academic calendar, so the early fall listings are not necessarily a good indication of the year-end total."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Anna Maria College has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. “After reviewing students’ academic preparation and how it effects their ability to succeed at AMC for the past several years, we found that merit and achievement in high school were becoming the major determining factors in academic success, as well as in the admissions decision making process,” said a statement from Mary Lou Retelle, executive vice president of the Massachusetts college. It will keep the test requirement for those seeking admission to its paramedic science program.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates would refuse for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system search committee for each campus's search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits would "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

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