Higher Education Quick Takes
The American Association of University Professors has released an open letter to members of the American Studies Association urging them to reject a proposal backed by the group's leaders to endorse a boycott of Israel universities. Members of the American Studies Association are voting on the proposal this month. The AAUP has a longstanding position against boycotting entire universities or countries, and the open letter reiterated those views. "The association recognizes the right of individual faculty members or groups of academics not to cooperate with other individual faculty members or academic institutions with whom or with which they disagree," the letter says. "We believe, however, that when such noncooperation takes the form of a systematic academic boycott, it threatens the principles of free expression and communication on which we collectively depend."
Robert Cameron Redus, a dean's list senior at the University of the Incarnate Word, was shot and killed by a police officer at the university early Friday morning, The San Antonio Express-News reported. The officer is on a paid leave, pending an investigation. Authorities said that the officer pulled Redus over, off campus, for erratic driving, that they fought and that Redus was shot in the struggle. Friends of Redus said that they couldn't believe he would have done something to make a police officer feel the need to use force.
The White House on Friday postponed a meeting with an estimated 140 college leaders that had been scheduled for this week, according to notices administration officials distributed to invited participants. The event was slated to be a discussion of strategies to better serve lower-income students. In order to get in the door the group of college presidents, state and local government officials and other invitees were asked to set a specific goal for improvement in areas such as remediation or enrollment numbers of Pell Grant recipients.
The meeting was bumped, however, because of a trip President Obama and Michelle Obama are taking to South Africa this week to attend a memorial for Nelson Mandela. In emails to invitees, White House officials said they remained "100 percent" committed to holding the meeting on higher education, probably in January. In the meantime they encouraged participants to continue to work with the administration to further develop their student-success pledges.
Authorities in New Jersey are investigating whether a video shows the alleged sex assault of a Seton Hall University student, The New York Times reported. The video shows attendees at an off-campus party laughing and cheering during the alleged assault -- and the video was reportedly circulated among students. "The recording or sharing of images of the alleged incident is completely unacceptable and contrary to Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and commitment to fostering an academic and social environment where all students are respected," said a statement from the university.
Colorado's attorney general's office announced Thursday that the state has fined for-profit Argosy University $3.3 million for deceptive marketing, The Denver Post reported. The state found that the university led students to believe that it was seeking accreditation for two doctoral programs by the American Psychological Association, which was not the case. Further, students were unaware that they were unlikely to be able to become licensed psychologists in Colorado with their Argosy degrees. Most of the fine will be used to help former Argosy students with their loans. Argosy acknowledged the fine and, in a statement, said that "[a]t Argosy University, student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement."
The University of Iowa College of Law will dramatically cut prices in an effort to attract more students in a weak legal market and reduce student debt. The state's Board of Regents approved a plan to cut the law school's sticker price by 18 percent for new and continuing Iowa residents and incoming out-of-state students starting in fall 2014. The reductions, approved Thursday, mean a $7,750 a year reduction for nonresident students to $39,500, and a cut of $4,309 for resident students, to $21,965.
E. Gordon Gee will be named today as interim president of West Virginia University, The Charleston Gazette reported. Gee was 37 years old when he became president of WVU in 1981, and he stayed in the post for four years. Since then he has been president of the University of Colorado, Ohio State University (twice), Brown University and Vanderbilt University. He resigned from the Ohio State presidency in June amid a series of controversies over controversial statements he had made. But he has been much loved over the years by Ohio State trustees, donors and students. In October, Gee was named in October by Ohio Governor John Kasich to lead a state panel to study how to make higher education in the state more effective and efficient.
"Online Education: More Than MOOCs" is a collection of news articles and opinion essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about the many forms of online learning that continue to develop outside the white-hot glare of hype surrounding massive open online courses. The articles aim to put recent developments in online education into long-term context, and the essays present the timely thinking of commentators about experts about how distance education is affecting learning and colleges' business models.
The goal is to provide some of Inside Higher Ed's best recent material (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here.
Nichole Wilson, a psychology professor at Yavapai College, is having one of the best semesters ever in terms of student attendance and interaction. More than two-thirds of students have perfect attendance and there were only 12 absences over all over 30 class meeting dates. She attributes the change to a new approach she took this semester to explaining class expectations -- an approach she adopted after seeing a video of a flight attendant using a nontraditional approach to giving the safety instructions. Here is a video of Wilson's class introduction this semester (and likely next semester too, given how well it worked).