Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 1, 2013

Bellingham Technical College faculty resumed classes Monday following their weeklong strike over union contract negotiations. A three-year contract deal reached over the weekend includes a 3 percent raise for faculty per pay step, bigger stipends, longevity bonuses, and pay raises for adjunct faculty at the Washington institution.

Leaders of the Bellingham Education Association, affiliated with the National Education Association, said they looked forward to improved relations with the administration in a union news release. “We’re serious about wanting to improve our college,” said Don Anderson, a welding technology professor who served on the union bargaining team.

In a statement, Bellingham President Patricia McKeown said the college was pleased to have a contract in place. “We will all need to help each other through a healing process and get back to doing what we do best -- changing our students’ lives for the better and contributing to a healthy economy.”

October 1, 2013

The University of California at Berkeley evacuated the campus Monday night after an explosion caused by a power system failure. One student with minor injuries was taken to the hospital, and four others with minor injuries declined to be hospitalized. Late Monday night, Berkeley officials told students they could return to housing units on campus. The power outage hit the campus at 4:40 p.m., and shortly after that evening classes were called off, and laboratories were told to shut down operations. About 20 people were stuck in various elevators on campus but they were all rescued by 8:30 p.m. The explosion took place about 6:40 p.m.

 

October 1, 2013

Accrediting agencies should no longer serve as gatekeepers to federal financial aid, argues a new report by Hank Brown, a former president of the University of Colorado and Republican U.S. senator. The current accreditation system squelches innovation, interferes with colleges' autonomy, and is riddled with conflicts of interest, Brown said in the report, which was co-sponsored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the American Enterprise Institute. In addition to separating eligibility for federal aid funding from accreditation, Brown's report called for accreditors to use transparent performance metrics. The call to break the link between accreditation and federal financial aid has frequently been made by Anne Neal, who is president of the trustees' group.

October 1, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Yagesh Bhambhani of the University of Alberta reveals why hands-free cell phone use makes driving dangerous. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 1, 2013

Gallaudet University's chief diversity officer, Angela McCaskill, has sued the university, saying that she suffered discrimination and retaliation for signing a petition to have Maryland residents vote on a state law permitting same-sex marriage, The Washington Post reported. McCaskill was briefly placed on leave as some on campus said it was inappropriate for a diversity officer to sign a petition widely viewed as  way to block gay marriage. McCaskill has argued that she took no stand on same-sex marriage except expressing a belief that state voters should get to decide the issue. Her suit says that, prior to her leave, she was deputy to the president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion, as well as chief diversity officer. Since then, she says, her title has become chief diversity officer. Gallaudet officials declined to comment on the suit.

 

October 1, 2013

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the University of Alabama against an artist, AL.com reported. The judge ruled that the university could not bar the artist, Daniel Moore, from creating art based on real images of Alabama athletes. The case -- which has moved from court to court -- has been going on for eight years.

 

October 1, 2013

Bruce N. Chaloux, executive director and chief executive officer of the Sloan Consortium and a longtime leader in the online learning world, died suddenly over the weekend. Chaloux took the reins at Sloan, an association of professionals and institutions involved in digital education, in March 2012. Before that, he directed the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus, a market place of more than 10,000 digital courses, and previously worked at Virginia Tech and Castleton State College in Vermont.

"It is impossible to adequately put into words what Bruce Chaloux meant personally and professionally to each of us," said Meg Benke, Sloan's president and a faculty member in the Empire State College School for Graduate Studies. "He was more than the energetic CEO of our Consortium. He was our good-humored, kind and generous friend. He was an optimistic and dedicated leader who spent his last days doing what he loved: working diligently for online and adult learning opportunities here and around the world. His accomplishments are many, his networks extensive, and his unfinished business is still at hand."

October 1, 2013

Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest celebrates its first birthday today, with the publication of a new cartoon, a chance to vote on your favorite nominated captions from last month, and news about the winner of our August contest.

We invite you to submit your ideas for the cleverest caption for the new cartoon, which you can find here. Vote on your favorite from among our judges' three choices from among the suggestions we received for last month's cartoon.

And kudos to Vicki Dominick, assistant director for learning services at George Mason University, whose caption scored the most reader votes among the three finalists chosen by our panel for August's cartoon. View her winning entry here.

October 1, 2013

Yale University could admit about 15 percent more undergraduates because of a $250 million donation to construct two residential colleges. The $250 million gift from an alumnus, Charles B. Johnson, former chairman of the board of Franklin Resources, is the university’s largest ever.

The donation will be used to build two new residential colleges, allowing the university to admit about 15 percent more students each year and bringing the total undergraduate enrollment to over 6,000. The university is within $80 million of the funds necessary to break ground on the project.

“This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Yale’s most loyal alumni,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a press release.

September 30, 2013

North Carolina State University on Friday announced a $50 million gift from the Park Foundation. The funds will support a scholarship program through which students receive a four-year scholarship, a computer stipend, specialized faculty mentoring and various special learning opportunities.

 

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