The former president of one of North Dakota's public universities has urged the region's accreditor to investigate recent actions by the state's public higher education system and its new chancellor, The Grand Forks Herald reported. In a complaint to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Ellen Chaffee, president emerita of Valley City State University and a consultant on college governance, expressed her "grave" concerns over the direction the State Board of Higher Education has taken since Hamid Shirvani became chancellor last summer. She cited a range of alleged violations of the commission's standards on governance and a destructive personal style on Shirvani's part. A spokeswoman for the North Dakota system told the newspaper that Chaffee's complaint appeared to be based on rumor and misinformation.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Maryland at College Park will establish a close relationship with the Corcoran College of Art and Design and the Corcoran Gallery of Art under a draft agreement announced Wednesday. The Corcoran institutions, in Washington near the White House, have been financially struggling for years. Final terms remain to be determined, but are expected to preserve the Corcoran's independence while giving Maryland a role in the Corcoran board, The Washington Post reported. The final plans are expected to include joint academic programs, shared faculty and a plan for putting the Corcoran in a financially stable situation. Some students protested Wednesday, saying that the Corcoran should remain completely independent.
Students at Riverside City College were stunned this week to learn that their student body president, Doug Robert Figueroa, is a registered sex offender, The Press-Enterprise reported. Anonymous fliers were placed on bulletin boards on campus informing people that he had admitted in court that in 2005 he had kidnapped a child under the age of 14 and committed "lewd and lascivious acts" on him. A prison term was suspended at sentencing and he instead was placed on probation for 10 years. Students told the newspaper that they were shocked, and some said that they wished they had known prior to the election.
Via e-mail Figueroa told the newspaper: "Many students have been aware of my status and we believe in rehabilitation.... I dedicate my life to change the stigmas on these types of offenses. Don't get me wrong, there are some offenders that truly need to be on high supervision."
He also published a letter in the student newspaper, Viewspoints. "Do not let life’s mishaps define who you have to be. I have made mistakes in my life, but I have learned from them, accepted the consequences of them, made a difference in my life and will continue to make a difference for the lives of those in my community. Don’t get me wrong, it has not and will not be easy and there will always be those that find humor in bringing you down, but we all must choose to be resilient so we can overcome anything," he wrote. "In holding a public student office, I understand that there will always be those that are malicious and try to prevent good from happening, whether you are president of a community college student body or the greatest nation on Earth. But I am a strong person, a strong leader and through the support of many friends and colleagues, I will continue fighting for the good of every student at Riverside City College."
The Faculty Senate at Cleveland State University voted no confidence in the administration Wednesday, citing professors' frustration over planned changes in courses' credit hours, The Plain Dealer reported. Faculty leaders object to the administration's plan to convert most four-credit courses to three-credit courses. The administration says that this will bring Cleveland State in line with other public institutions in the state. But faculty members say that the plan will end up costing low-income students much more for textbooks (since they will need to take more courses to graduate) and will make it difficult for part-timers to make progress toward graduation.
The Department of Homeland Security has selected seven colleges for a "Campus Resilience Pilot Program," designed to explore new ways to help colleges prevent emergencies and respond to those that occur. The colleges are:
- Drexel University.
- Eastern Connecticut State University.
- Green River Community College.
- Navajo Technical College.
- Texas A&M University.
- Tougaloo College.
- University of San Francisco.
On his television show Monday, the Rev. Pat Robertson responded to a viewer question about why miracles seemed more likely in Africa than in the United States. His answer? "Those people overseas didn't go to Ivy League schools." Robertson went on to say that at our "most advanced schools, we have been inundated with skepticism and secularism," while those in Africa are taught to believe in miracles.
The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday issued a statement calling on colleges not to deal with new health-care requirements by cutting adjunct hours. A number of colleges have done so, seeking to keep adjuncts below the minimum levels at which employers are required to provide health coverage. The AAUP statement outlines what it considers to be fair ways to calculate adjunct work (stressing the planning and grading that takes place outside of class time). But regardless of how hours are calculated, the AAUP says that colleges should not respond to cost concerns by limiting adjunct hours.
"We have been dismayed by news reports of a handful of colleges and universities that have threatened to cut the courseloads of part-time faculty members specifically in order to evade this provision of the law," the statement said. "Such actions are reprehensible, penalizing part-time faculty members both by depriving them access to affordable health care as intended by law and by reducing their income."
A new working paper finds that economic conditions are a critical factor in determining whether foreign-born science and engineering Ph.D. students plan to remain in the United States after they graduate: students are most likely to stay if the U.S. has experienced strong gross domestic product growth in recent years or their home country has had weak growth. Students who come from countries that have recently democratized or have higher average income levels are less likely to remain in the U.S.
The study, based on an analysis of the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates data from 1960 to 2008, also found that foreign students who plan to stay in the U.S. have higher levels of academic ability, as determined by the educational attainment of their parents and their own success in earning fellowships and other sources of graduate funding. (An exception is those students who receive funding contingent upon their return to their home country; not surprisingly, these students are less likely to intend to stay in the U.S.)
Foreign-born students made up 56 percent of all science and engineering Ph.D. recipients in the U.S. in 2007. The working paper is by Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon H. Hanson, of the Universities of Chicago and California at San Diego, respectively, and is available on the National Bureau of Economic Research website for $5.