Higher Education Quick Takes
Western International University, a for-profit institution owned by the Apollo Group, has slashed its tuition by 51 percent. The university's bachelor's degrees, which are aimed at working adults, will cost $30,400. Master's degrees will be $11,950. Western, which enrolls 2,500 students, is also offering a "test drive" in which the first two online courses will cost $200 each. Several for-profits have cut prices recently amid slumping enrollments, including ITT Technical Institute and Strayer University.
Princeton University reopened the campus Tuesday evening after evacuating for eight hours due to a bomb threat. A statement from the university said: "The university received a phone call from someone who said multiple bombs were placed throughout campus at unspecified locations. After determining that the threat was credible, university officials ordered the campus evacuated. Faculty and staff were sent home; students were told to go to public places in the town of Princeton, including the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Arts Council and the Nassau Inn.... Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in from law enforcement agencies and searched campus in a coordinated effort with university staff members. No explosive devices were found. The university takes all threats to the safety and well being of its community members and visitors seriously."
The University of New Hampshire also received and investigated a bomb threat Tuesday, but did not evacuate, and determined that the threat was a hoax.
The faculty athletics representative at the University of Richmond has circulated an e-mail to colleagues calling for the institution to leave Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to stop playing intercollegiate football, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. "I have come to the conclusion that it’s hard-to-impossible to consistently make DI-level sports conform and submit to the primary institutional focus on academics, because there’s just too much money and ambition involved," said the e-mail from Rick Mayes, an associate professor of political science. Noting concerns about the impact of concussions on football players, he asked whether it would not be better -- for the sake of athletes and to prevent future lawsuits -- to drop football. University administrators indicated that Richmond has no intention of taking the advice Mayes offered.DI and DIII in quotes are sic per article -sj
The foundation of San Francisco State University has agreed to not invest in companies "with significant production or use of coal and tar sands." Further the foundation will seek to limit investments in fossil fuel companies. Advocates for divestment of fossil fuel companies said that they viewed the move as significant. To date, colleges that have embraced divestment have been small, private colleges in the Northeast, while San Francisco State is the first Western or public institution to take such a stand. The foundation's endowment is in the range of $50 million.
- Lisa H. Conti, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Connecticut, has been appointed as assistant professor of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University, also in Connecticut.
- Joe Diaz, an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University and Marian University, has been selected as director of corporate learning and operations at Harrison College.
- Andrew Hermalyn, executive vice president for university relations at 2U, has been chosen as executive vice president and general manager of 2U's Semester Online.
- Irene Scruton, executive director of the Safety Council of Central and Western New York, has been named MBA Director at the State University of New York at Oswego.
- Michaele Whelan, vice provost for academic affairs at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, has been named vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College, also in Massachusetts.
Mel Williams Jr., associate deputy secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been appointed as senior associate dean for military and veterans initiatives at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is objecting to league-wide caps on the numbers of international students permitted to play on intercollegiate sports teams.
"The CCLA opposes unfair discrimination against non-citizens in all areas of law," Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the organization, said in a press release posted on the Canada News Wire website. "We are particularly concerned because later this week, the [Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association] will be considering a motion to extend this discriminatory measure and further limit the participation of international students in collegiate varsity sports.”
As the Windsor Star reported, there are currently caps on the numbers of international students on basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, and the athletic association is set to take up a measure that would expand those quotas to cover badminton, cross-country running, curling and golf at its conference this week. The caps are seen as inhibiting the recruitment of international students but Sandra Murray-MacDonell, the executive director of the athletic association, said they are necessary to ensure a fair playing field.
A new analysis of the state of public funding of universities from the European University Association warns of a widening resource gap across the continent. For the 17 higher education systems for which data were available, nine (Austria, Belgium’s French-speaking Community, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden) experienced an increase in funding from 2012 to 13, and eight (Croatia, England and Wales, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia) experienced cuts. The most severe cuts were in Greece (25 percent) and Hungary (19 percent). As the EUA report states, “This is all the more critical as both countries face a general downward trend over the period 2009-2013, with the difference (not adjusted for inflation) between those reference years amounting to about -46% in Greece and about -31% in Hungary.”
The report also isolates the role of inflation in either accentuating or mitigating the effect of higher education cuts or spending increases over the past five years. When adjusted for inflation, seven of 20 systems (Austria, Belgium’s French-speaking Community, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) have a higher funding level in 2012 compared to 2008, and 13 systems (Croatia, Czech Republic, England and Wales, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain) have a lower funding level.
The former department chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was widely blamed for no-show classes and grade inflation that may have helped many athletes remain eligible was offered gifts like football tickets and scheduled classes for athletes' academic counselors, potentially undercutting claims by Chancellor Holden Thorp and an internal investigation's findings that the classes were not designed to benefit athletes. E-mails obtained by the Raleigh News & Observer show that Julius Nyang'oro, who retired under pressure in July, scheduled no-show classes at the behest of academic support staff, who steered athletes to those classes, the newspaper previously reported.
Thorp and other officials have maintained that the systemic scandal, which dates to 1997, was an academic and not athletic one because about half the students enrolled in the classes were non-athletes. Additionally, the National Collegiate Athletic Association declined to punish UNC for the scandal because there were no explicit NCAA rules violations; the "extra benefits" were not provided strictly on the basis of students' status as athletes.