Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 4:35am

An anonymous website over the weekend posted confidential information about McGill University donors, including the size of past gifts, how much the university hoped to obtain from future gifts, personal phone numbers and more, The Montreal Gazette reported. Authorities are investigating how the information was obtained, and the university was able to get the hosts for the site to take it down. The university sent an e-mail message to all donors, pledging to find out what happened and to prevent future such leaks.

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 4:38am

Two Texas universities reported Tuesday that, working with community colleges, they can offer degrees that cost only $10,000 over four years, The Texas Tribune reported. Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, set that goal, whose feasibility was questioned by many educators. But Texas A&M at San Antonio is about to offer a bachelor's in information technology with an emphasis on cyber security that will cost about $9,700. And Texas A&M at Commerce will soon offer a bachelor's of applied science in organizational leadership for under $10,000.

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Terence Burnham of Chapman University reveals how economic negotiations are often influenced by testosterone. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Israel's Council for Higher Education has approved the nation's first plan to encourage universities to hire more women as faculty members, Haaretz reported. Women are well-represented in the student ranks and the junior faculty slots, but only 15 percent of full professors are women. The plan calls on universities to develop family-friendly policies, to appoint advisers to help presidents develop strategies for recruiting and to keep better data on the status of women in academe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, announced Tuesday that he will retire in September. Scott's career has mixed academe and politics. He has been president of Pasadena City College and Cypress College, and was an influential legislator on education issues during terms in California's Assembly and Senate. Scott became chancellor in 2009, and served in the role during a time of huge budget cuts and increased enrollment demands. California's community college system is highly decentralized, and Scott both pushed for more funds and for reforms that he said were needed in light of dwindling dollars.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Cliopatria -- a group blog about history (broadly defined) -- is shutting down after more than 8 years of almost daily publication. Led by Ralph Luker, the blog attracted many historian/writers over the years who are web personalities, people like KC Johnson, Hugo Schwyzer, Claire Potter, Sean Wilentz and many others (including Inside Higher Ed columnist Scott McLemee). The blog was hosted by the History News Network.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Florida State University has agreed to pay $75,000 each to two blind students who sued the institution, charging that it was using instructional materials that had not been made available in forms they could use. The university denied wrongdoing but agreed to examine various technology tools to make sure they are made accessible to all.

 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 4:33am

The outstanding balance on student loans has now hit $870 billion, more than the total credit card balance ($693 billion) and the total car loan balance ($730 billion), according to a report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rise in student loan debt is hardly a new trend, but the report documents the extent of the debt and the impact it has not only on borrowers, but their families. The report notes that "unlike other types of household debt such as credit cards and auto loans, the student loan market is incredibly complex. Numerous players and institutions hold stakes at each level of the market, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, financial institutions, students and their families, and numerous servicers and guarantee facilitators."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 4:37am

The University of California at Davis had been expected today to release the results of an independent inquiry into the use of pepper spray on nonviolent protesters there last year. But on Monday, the university announced that a threat by the police union to seek a temporary restraining order had led the the postponement of the release. University officials said they hoped to release the study soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

After a four-hour closed-door meeting Monday, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees put President Michael Hogan on notice, saying he needed to repair the relationship between the administration and the faculty. "We let him know that we thought we needed our people to change, or we needed change in our people," said the board's chairman, Christopher Kennedy, in a press conference after the meeting.

The board called Monday's meeting after an outbreak of criticism of Hogan, including a letter to the board from 130 endowed professors and department chairs at the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign. Kennedy said the board asked Hogan to lay out certain steps he will take to mend his relationship with the faculty and expand shared governance at the university. "We want to be part of a university where shared governance is fully embraced, where there is respectful dialogue between our senior leadership team, and where the faculty feels welcome and important," he said.

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