Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, February 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of British Columbia is giving all female, tenure-track faculty members a 2 percent raise, The Globe and Mail reported. The move follows a series of studies that found female professors earning less than their male counterparts. Some of that gap is explained by factors that were not deemed to constitute gender bias. For instance, male faculty members are more likely than are female faculty members to teach in disciplines where salaries are high. The 2 percent raises are an attempt to remedy the portion of the salary gap that cannot be explained by legitimate factors.

Monday, February 4, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Walker of the University of Maryland at College Park reveals what we know about how the Earth weathered the period of heavy bombardment. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Monday, February 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Texas Board of Regents announced Sunday that it would conduct a review of policies about inappropriate relationships between employees and students, USA Today reported. The announcement came after the board met and took no public action against Major Applewhite, an assistant football coach at the Austin campus who was advised to get counseling and who had a one-year salary freeze imposed because of a one-time consensual relationship with a student. The punishment is receiving scrutiny because of the recent ouster of Bev Kearney as track and field coach, also at Austin. She said she was forced out because of a consensual relationship she had with a student. Kearney has charged that the university took a harder line with her than it did with male coaches.

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Danish government officials have pledged to make it easier for their universities to recruit foreign talent. But The Copenhagen Post reported that various regulations are actually making it more difficult for them to hire researchers from outside Denmark. Handling the rules and paperwork is so complex that the University of Copenhagen has created an office just to advise foreign scholars on the process.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the University of Miami's medical school are demanding the resignation of Pascal Goldschmidt, the dean, The Miami Herald reported. Faculty members question the way he has managed the finances of the school, and some say that critics of the dean are punished. After a stormy meeting this week, the dean is defending his overall leadership, but also said that there would be a "change in course" and that faculty members would receive raises.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 4:08am

William L. Pollard, who has clashed repeatedly with faculty and student leaders, has resigned as president of Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, The New York Times reported. Faculty members at the college have twice voted no confidence in him, and students organized a class walkout last year to demand his departure. His critics say he shifted resources away from programs vital to education and the local community. Pollard's defenders have said that he was focused on good management for the institution.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 4:12am

A jury on Thursday awarded $849,000 to a former student who says she was kicked out of the social work program at Wayne State University because of her pregnancy, the Associated Press reported. The university said she was removed for legitimate reasons. But the jury accepted the student's view that the university's poor evaluation of her was due to reviews she received on an internship, where she said her supervisor was offended by her status as an unmarried pregnant woman.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Green of Midwestern University explains what a recent find reveals about how Australopithecus lived. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Florida's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the state Constitution gives legislators ultimate authority to set tuition, presumably ending a six-year legal fight over whether that authority lay instead with the state's higher education governing board.

The former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, along with other politicians and some university leaders in the state, had argued that a 2002 constitutional amendment creating a statewide Board of Governors transferred tuition-setting power to the new body. (They believed the state's major public universities were underpriced on national terms and viewed legislators as unwilling to raise tuition.) A judge embraced their legal arguments early in 2011, but a state appeals court overturned that ruling later that year.

In its decision Thursday, the state Supreme Court backed the appeals court's ruling. "Nothing within the language of [the Constitutional amendment] indicates an intent to transfer this quintessentially legislative power to the Board of Governors," the high court's ruling said. "Accordingly, we conclude that the challenged statutes by which the Legislature has exercised control over these funds are facially constitutional."

The legal battling may be over, but the fight over tuition-setting continues. Legislators have proposed (and continue to propose) bills that would allow the University of Florida and Florida State University to raise tuition significantly, while Governor Rick Scott has not only rebuffed those but argued for lowering tuition rates.

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Most of the attention related to the controversial "state authorization" regulations that the U.S. Education Department sought to implement in 2010 revolved around their potential application to distance education programs -- which a federal court invalidated in July 2011, and the agency said a year later it would not enforce. But lest college leaders (or state officials) think they were off the hook for the rest of the new requirements related to seeking state approval, the Education Department sent a little reminder to the contrary last week.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter to state education officials, department administrators noted that the delays in enforcement (of up to two years) that individual colleges could seek if they had been unable to obtain authorization to maintain a physical presence in a given state would be exhausted by the end of June 2013. So any institution that has not been granted approval to operate a physical campus in a state under the terms of the 2011 rules by then will risk losing access to federal financial aid funds, the letter notes.

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