Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Jack Conway, Kentucky's attorney general, on Tuesday filed a consumer protection lawsuit against National College of Kentucky, Inc., a for-profit, for allegedly misrepresenting job placement numbers. Conway is leading a 22-state investigation of potential abuses among for-profits. He has also sued Daymar College for allegedly misleading students about their textbooks and financial aid and joined a whistle-blower complaint against Education Management Corporation over allegations of illegal payments to student recruiters, and he is investigating five other for-profits operating in Kentucky. The suit against National claims the college publicly displayed "significantly higher" job placement rates than the rates it reported to an accrediting agency. National has attempted to block the investigation, and has appealed a judge's ruling that it could continue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The compensation for top administrators at the wealthiest private colleges and universities in Massachusetts continues to rise, according to a report by the Center for Social Philanthropy at the Tellus Institute, located in Boston.

More than $157 million was paid to 339 top university officials in 2009, the latest data available, the report states. Twenty employees received more than $1 million, with the highest package exceeding $6 million at Harvard University. According to a press release from the center: "The financial crisis of 2008-09 appears to have done little to dampen the size of compensation packages received by the most highly paid college officials, even as colleges themselves have imposed cuts to programs and lower-level staff, often in response to sharp declines in the value of their endowments."

Officials at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts declined to comment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Jane Sanders resigned Monday as president of Burlington College, citing unspecified differences with the college's board, The Burlington Free Press reported. Speculation about her departure has been rampant since the disclosure of a board agenda with an item labeled "removal of the president."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, John Anderson of Rice University explains what the sediment below the ice of Antarctica reveals about the continent’s past and the planet’s future. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Almost half of undergraduate programs at public colleges and universities in Texas are in danger of being eliminated because they do not meet a new state requirement of graduating at least 25 students every five years, UPI reported. Many physics programs nationally do not graduate large numbers of undergraduates, but are considered vital nonetheless because of the role of the discipline in preparing students for a variety of science and engineering related fields, and because of the significance of research in physics. A delegation from the American Physical Society recently met with officials of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to discuss concerns about enforcing the rule with regard to physics. Raymund Paredes, the Texas commissioner of higher education, said he would not back exceptions to the rule. "In this budgetary environment, we can't afford the luxury of programs not producing graduates," he told UPI. "It's up to academic departments faced with closure of programs to salvage them."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Spain on Monday opened its first and Europe's second university focused on the culinary arts, AFP reported. For its first year, 74 students were admitted to a four-year program, out of 380 who applied.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Rhode Island's Board of Governors for Higher Education on Monday approved a policy allowing some students without legal documentation to live in the United States to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges and universities, the Associated Press reported. To be eligible under the new policy, students must have attended a high school in the state for at least three years and graduated, and must pledge to seek legal status as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Achieving the Dream today added 23 community colleges to its list of 52 "leader colleges." Colleges get the nod for improved graduation rates, closed achievement gaps and "changing lives," according to the nonprofit group, which works with 160 institutions on "evidence-based, student-centered" reforms in the community college sector. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas was one of the colleges to earn the leader college distinction, due in part to bulked up remedial education coursework that increased the college's three-year graduation or certificate completion rate to 24 percent from 10 percent over a four-year period.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

While many colleges won't sell alcoholic energy drinks, the University of New Hampshire is considering a ban on non-alcoholic energy drinks such as Full Throttle and Red Bull, the Associated Press reported. In fact, the university announced a ban on the sale of such products Monday, but backtracked later in the day and said it would study the idea further before imposing a ban. (This updates an earlier version of this item, based on the reported ban.) "The University of New Hampshire is committed to making its campus the healthiest in the country," Rick MacDonald, assistant director of dining at the university, said when explaining the idea behind the ban.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 3:00am

The Delegate Assembly of the United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, has adopted a package of measures designed to promote the interests of non-tenure-track faculty members. The UUP, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, pledged to adopt a system in which adjuncts who go on and off payroll can remain members of the union. Further, each campus chapter will have an officer focused on contingent issues, and at least one spot on the statewide union's executive board will be held by someone off the tenure track.

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