Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:00am

Budget panels in California's Legislature have rejected a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that would have increased tuition for community college students who exceed 90 lifetime credits, The Sacramento Bee reported. The plan, which sought to increase efficiency in the system, would have required students to pay four times the standard tuition rate of $46 per credit. Brown had recommended the caps as part of his budget plan.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:05am

Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN on Monday that international students – in particular those from Japan -- are scared of coming to the United States because of fears of gun violence. "We had an interesting discussion about why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States, and one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents here is that they're actually scared. They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come," Kerry told the broadcaster.

The number of international students from Japan is on the decline, but, as CNN noted, there are also other demographic and economic explanations.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:14am

The American Political Science Association has named Steven Rathgeb Smith as its next executive director. Smith will succeed Michael Brintnall, who is retiring, on September 1. Smith currently holds the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. His research areas include nonprofit organizations, public management and social policy.

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 4:17am

When Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, spoke to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors last week, much of his talk focused on issues of efficiency. But he also asked the leaders of the UNC system to focus more on issues of drug and alcohol abuse, The Herald-Sun reported. "There’s a serious drug and abuse of alcohol problems on your college campuses right now," he said. "There’s binge drinking. There’s a serious cocaine problem. There’s a serious heroin problem on every one of your campuses. You go ask the any student and you go ask sheriffs in any county.”

The governor said, "I’m just telling you as the Board of Governors and chancellors that we’re not going to hide it anymore. We’ve got to let it be known that there is a serious addiction issue that’s kind of being swept under the rug."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Missouri Board of Curators is preparing to change a rule that has, until now, stated that donors to the system's campuses could have only one building named after them, The Kansas City Star reported. Officials believe that lifting the rule may encourage some major donors to give even more, enticed by the possibility of having their names on multiple buildings.

 

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Swiss universities -- with high quality and low tuition rates -- are enrolling larger proportions of foreign students, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported. In 1990, foreign enrollments made up 23 percent of the Swiss student body. Today that figure is 38 percent. While educators are proud of the quality of students being attracted, some officials question whether the country can afford to educate so many people from elsewhere.

 

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Authorities have charged Lei Wu, an assistant professor of software engineering at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, with making a "terroristic threat" based on statements he made to a colleague, The Houston Chronicle reported. Wu allegedly told a faculty colleague -- who recorded the conversation -- that there will "be blood" if he is not awarded tenure.

In response to an e-mail from Inside Higher Ed asking about the charges, Wu said: "Truth will come out soon. By then you will see. Justice will prevail."

 

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 3:00am

London School of Economics claims that three undercover BBC reporters who accompanied a student group on a trip to North Korea put the students at risk, The Telegraph reported. The journalists, who feigned affiliation with LSE, accompanied 10 students to North Korea, where they conducted filming for a documentary that’s scheduled to air today.

“At no point prior to the trip was it made clear to the students that a BBC team of three had planned to use the trip as cover for a major documentary to be shown on [the BBC program] ‘Panorama,’ ” LSE officials said in an email sent to students and staff.

"It is LSE's view that the students were not given enough information to enable informed consent, yet were given enough to put them in serious danger if the subterfuge had been uncovered prior to their departure from North Korea.”

The BBC maintains that students were twice warned that a (single) journalist would be coming on the trip. "The students were all explicitly warned about the potential risks of traveling to North Korea with the journalist as part of their group,” a spokeswoman for "Panorama" said. "This included a warning about the risk of arrest and detention and that they might not be allowed to return to North Korea in the future."

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Matthew Goldstein sent a letter to students and faculty members of the City University of New York system Friday afternoon announcing his plans to retire this summer. Goldstein has been chancellor since 1999, and in his years leading the university system, it has undergone major changes. Under Goldstein, new admissions standards for four-year institutions resulted in many of them attracting more top students, while CUNY's community colleges emerged as leading centers of reform in two-year college education. A new community college was launched this year, and it makes full use of many of the reform ideas circulating in the discussions of two-year colleges. CUNY also launched a number of new divisions in addition to the new community college. Among them are the William E. Macaulay Honors College, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY School of Public Health.

Goldstein also was chancellor when CUNY officials (as well as their counterparts at the State University of New York) reached an agreement with state officials in a bid to lead to more stable appropriations and tuition increases (both of which have fluctuated widely in the past). Some student leaders, however, have objected to any tuition increases, and there have been protests when rates have been raised.

Goldstein's letter to the system noted pride that during his tenure, more than 2,000 full-time faculty jobs have been added systemwide.

Relations between CUNY and its faculty union during Goldstein's tenure have sometimes been frosty. Currently, CUNY administrators and the union are divided over a program designed to create a smooth path for community college students to enroll in four-year programs after completing associate degrees. While the goal is one most educators applaud, faculty leaders have said that the plan has been poorly designed and has ignored professors' concerns.

 

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 4:16am

West Virginia is moving to merge two community colleges, while maintaining their two campuses, which are 33 miles apart, the Associated Press reported. The boards of Bridgemont Community and Technical College and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College have approved the plan, under which the two institutions will be run by one president and one board. The goal of the merger is to cut costs.

 

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