Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Michele M. Moody-Adams, dean of Columbia College at Columbia University, announced over the weekend that she was resigning at the end of the academic year due to disagreements with reorganizations under way in the university administration, The New York Times reported. President Lee Bollinger then said that Moody-Adams would be leaving immediately. Full details of the disagreement are not available, but the e-mail from Moody-Adams announcing her departure said that changes under consideration would “transform the administrative structure” of the faculty of arts and sciences, compromising her authority over “crucial policy, fund-raising and budgetary matters.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Texas Governor Rick Perry's controversial higher education platform may be coming to a college near you -- if you're at a college or university in Florida. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has been sharing the philosophical framework for Perry's performance-based vision for public colleges and universities -- the Texas Public Policy Foundation's "Seven Breakthrough Solutions" -- with candidates he is considering for trustee positions. "It does get the conversation going," Scott told the newspaper, referring to ideas like creating "separate budgeting and reward systems for teaching and research, making it possible to reward exceptional individuals in each area," and allocating state aid through vouchers for students in place of institutional support. Faculty leaders in Florida are not excited about the potential export from the Lone Star State. "People are just mortified by it," said Tom Auxter, president of United Faculty of Florida, the statewide faculty union. "The devil is alive and well in those details."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Students in education courses are given consistently higher grades than are students in other college disciplines, according to a study published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Monday. The study, by Cory Koedel, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Missouri at Columbia, cites that and other evidence to make the case that teachers are trained in "a larger culture of low standards for educators," in line with "the low evaluation standards by which teachers are judged in K-12 schools."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, DePaul University's Joe Schwieterman explains a new trend that has more people renting cars and reveals why the practice should be encouraged. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Central Michigan University administrators said late Sunday that the university would hold classes this morning despite the vote by its faculty union earlier in the day to strike. Leaders of Central Michigan's Faculty Association said university administrators had adopted a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude in negotiations over renewing the contract for its 600-plus members, prompting them to file unfair labor practice charges. Campus officials said that they would seek a court's injunction this morning to bar what they called an "illegal work stoppage," and that students should report because fixed-term faculty members and graduate teaching assistants would "still hold classes as scheduled."

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The United States Department of Education has fined Washington State University $82,500 for improperly reporting two reported sex assaults, the Associated Press reported. The university is appealing the fine -- the result of an audit of crime reporting procedures -- but also says that it has improved its system since the inquiry. In one incident, a reported assault was recorded as a "domestic dispute" when it may have involved a rape. In the other, the university's police report of an alleged assault listed it as "unfounded" after the victim decided not to provide details, but the person who made that determination did not have the authority to do so.

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

For the first time, students will pay more in total to attend the University of California in 2011-12 than the 10-campus system will receive in state funding, the Los Angeles Times reported. While this has been true for other public colleges and universities for some time, UC's historically low tuition and California's historically strong support for public higher education have kept these lines from crossing only now. But with California's budget in tatters, UC, like many public institutions, has raised tuitions to make up for the lost state funds. "When these things happen, how often do they reverse themselves?" the Times quoted Patrick Lenz, the university's vice president of budget and capital resources, as saying. "Never."

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate of Southern University at Baton Rouge has rejected a request to approve furloughs for professors, and to shorten the time required before jobs may be eliminated, The Advocate reported. The vote followed statements from President James Llorens that he is likely to ask the Southern board to declare financial exigency in the next week, unless he could get furloughs accepted. That would allow the university, among other things, to dismiss tenured professors. Faculty leaders said that more money could be saved with administrative cuts before furloughs would be needed or declaring financial exigency would be appropriate.

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

James Perry retired as dean and chief executive officer of the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley campus this year. Gannett Wisconsin Media reported that the retirement was under strong pressure, following alleged inappropriate conduct while accompanying those on a three-week study abroad trip in Namibia. According to documents obtained by the news service, Perry "drank, swore, made crude remarks to women on the trip, overstepped his authority and got into a physical altercation with an assistant professor and a student." He was then given the choice of retirement or return to the faculty. Perry said that the incidents in Namibia were not as bad as the report made them sound, and he characterized them as nothing more than "a shouting match." But he added that he realized retirement was a good option. "I just know how things go," he said. "Once something gets messed up, it's hard to kind of back out and rethink things. It's just better if everybody says, 'OK, that's enough. Let's just call it a good career.' "

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Drexel University has called off plans to build an undergraduate campus in California, far from the institution's Philadelphia home, The Sacramento Bee reported. Drexel has started (and plans to continue) graduate programs in Sacramento. The undergraduate campus was to have been financed by a donation of land that would have been developed. But real estate values have fallen sharply, making the plan's underlying assumptions no longer valid, officials said.

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