Higher Education Quick Takes
College and school leaders in seven states have been chosen to work together in teams to ensure that the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English are implemented in the most effective ways. The states -- Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts,
Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin -- were chosen by the three groups that make up the College Readiness Partnership: the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The partnership hopes that the strategies identified by the seven state groups will serve as models for other states.
The Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University has endorsed the first-ever contract accord with the institution's new union for adjunct faculty members, AnnArbor.com reported. The union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, was formed last summer and represents about 800 part-time or contingent instructors. The members of the new EMU Federation of Teachers ratified the contract last week, and Eastern Michigan's board approved it Tuesday. “This affords the lecturers an important sense of stability,” Geoff Larcom, a university spokesman, told AnnArbor.com. “To get this deal done is significant, given it’s their first contract and given their extreme value of the students and the university.”
A jury this week concluded that Upper Iowa University had improperly dismissed a former employee in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and awarded her $1.1 million in back pay and damages, The Courier of Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa, reported. Lynne Seabrook was an assistant registrar of international programs at the time Upper Iowa fired her in 2009, and she alleged that the university had not provided accommodations after she was diagnosed with depression and other conditions. Upper Iowa officials said that Seabrook had never formally requested accommodations, and said they were likely to appeal, the newspaper reported.
Harvard University's endowment, the largest in the nation, had a 21.4 percent return in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the university announced Thursday. The return continues the recovery from the huge losses the university experienced in the fall of 2008. The university's endowment now stands at $32 billion.
Gov. Rick Perry's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination heartily attacked his stance letting undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition at Texas public universities at the sixth GOP debate Thursday night. The issue, on which Michelle Bachman took the lead during the last such debate, became a key focus of Thursday night's event, with numerous candidates criticizing Perry for taking too liberal a stance. "I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas -- to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount," said Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. "You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me.
The Common Application announced Thursday that it is planning a new online system for processing applications, and that it will expand its staff to handle the various technology functions, ending the practice of outsourcing such functions. More details will be announced in the months ahead, but the Common Application said that new features should be introduced as part of the process. The popular application system has grown significantly in recent years, and it also affirmed that it will keep as a key membership requirement that participating colleges use "holistic" admissions, involving subjective criteria such as essays and recommendations, not just data such as grades and test scores.
Weeks after a Pittsburgh-area businessman announced a $265 million donation to Carnegie Mellon University, the donor has pledged $125 million to the city's main public university. The University of Pittsburgh said Thursday that William S. Dietrich II, a former steel industry executive, would make the gift upon his death, and that the institution would rename its arts and sciences school for Dietrich's father.
Anna Maria College has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. “After reviewing students’ academic preparation and how it effects their ability to succeed at AMC for the past several years, we found that merit and achievement in high school were becoming the major determining factors in academic success, as well as in the admissions decision making process,” said a statement from Mary Lou Retelle, executive vice president of the Massachusetts college. It will keep the test requirement for those seeking admission to its paramedic science program.
The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates would refuse for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system search committee for each campus's search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits would "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."