Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

Thirteen Canadian universities have seen their pension deficits grow from $680 million to $3.2 billion in the last three years, Financial Post reported. Some universities have responded to these trends by increasing employee contributions or changing retirement eligibility dates.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The Ray Charles Foundation is demanding the return of $3 million given to Albany State University by Charles in 2001 and 2002, the Associated Press reported. The foundation says that Charles made the gift for a performing arts center, which has yet to be built. University officials said that they are still seeking money for the center, and that the funds were not limited to use on the planned arts center.

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 4:30am

Britain plans to exempt about 1,000 foreign graduates of its universities from tighter rules about to start on staying in the country after graduation, Times Higher Education reported. Those with "world-class innovative ideas" will be allowed to stay. The government generally has been moving to limit post-graduation time in the country, but higher education leaders have noted that the ability to remain is a competitive advantage for the country in attracting the best foreign talent.

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 4:32am

The University of Michigan Board of Regents may vote this week to remove a bylaw provision that requires the president to step down in the fiscal year that the person turns 70, AnnArbor.com reported. Officials said that the move is intended to comply with laws against age discrimination. The move may have a direct impact on the current president, Mary Sue Coleman, who is 68.

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

California community colleges with the lowest student transfer rates to four-year colleges are "intensely segregated" or enroll high percentages of minority students, according to three new reports from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles, while a "handful" of two-year colleges that serve largely white, Asian or middle-class students are responsible for the majority of transfers in the state. The group's third report takes on California's master plan, and calls for some the state's top community colleges to be given the authority to grant bachelor degrees.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Wael Asaad of Brown University discusses the important roles expectation and surprise play in the learning process. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

Millersville University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that it would discontinue three of its 22 sports teams because of budget constraints. Officials at the public institution, which like many colleges in the commonwealth has faced significant cuts in state funding, said the elimination of men's cross country and of indoor and outdoor track and field would save $200,000 -- funds that they said would balance the budget and help sustain the university's remaining 19 teams. University officials also said that the cuts would help bring Millersville into better compliance with the gender participation requirements of under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:00am

Michael Hogan, the president of the University of Illinois, is trying to build support for a more centralized approach to enrollment management in the university system. But e-mail messages between Hogan and his campus leaders -- obtained by The News-Gazette -- suggest that he has been pushing them to control faculty leaders who are dubious of the centralization, and that he has questioned whether chancellors have done enough to back him. An e-mail to Phyllis Wise, the new chancellor at Urbana-Champaign, called the faculty there "oppositional," and called on her to deal with a "defiant" Faculty Senate. Hogan also wrote that he was "not happy" with her "lack of leadership on enrollment management."

An e-mail from Wise disputed his analysis. "In fact, I have discussed enrollment management on the Urbana-Champaign campus in a nuanced manner to balance faculty (and my) concerns about the need to be able to manage campus level enrollment issues effectively vis-a-vis your and the Board of Trustees' concerns about diversity, articulation, and the effective use of financial aid. Thus, I would argue that I have exerted the kind of leadership that encourages an open discussion of the options before us," she wrote. "In my concept of leadership, it is extraordinarily important to pay attention both to the people who report to me, as well as those to whom I report."

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 3:00am

The presidents of 16 universities in what are now Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference announced Monday that they plan to create one league that would span 6,000 miles, include as many as two dozen sports programs, and be "built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship," they said. The presidents and chancellors met secretly in Dallas on Sunday and agreed to a plan not to stabilize their current conferences (which have been the targets of raids by several other leagues in recent months) but to create a merged league (beginning in 2013-14) that the presidents believe can go toe to toe with the other major sports conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The involved universities are Colorado State, East Carolina University, Fresno State, Marshall, Rice, and Tulane Universities; the U.S. Air Force Academy; and the Universities of Alabama at Birmingham, Hawai'i, Nevada at Las Vegas and Nevada at Reno, New Mexico, Southern Mississippi, Texas at El Paso, Tulsa and Wyoming.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 3:00am

The Association of Title IX Administrators, a group of officials charged with ensuring gender equity on campuses, issued a declaration of support Monday for the Office for Civil Rights’ controversial “dear colleague” letter that reiterated institutional responsibilities in responding to and preventing sexual assault. The declaration was co-authored by the Women's Sports Foundation.

The letter has drawn negative responses from general counsels and free speech groups, particularly for its clarification that, when considering complaints of harassment and assault, institutions need only apply a preponderance of evidence standard – meaning it’s “more likely than not” that the complaint has merit. While critics have worried the standard might lead a college’s judicial body to issue unwarranted punishments, the association called the standard “the only equitable choice under Title IX as it avoids the presumption, inherent in a higher standard of proof, that the word of a victim is less weighty than the word of an accused individual’s denial.”

The administrators praised the letter’s emphasis on equitable treatment for victims and accused students. Both parties are entitled to certain privileges – a campus advocate for the victim, for instance, or fair notice of the charges for the accused – that colleges have at times been criticized for violating.

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