Higher Education Quick Takes
Tensions are growing over the board of the Southern Illinois University System, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn removed three trustees. They all happened to be trustees who blocked another terms as board chair for an appointee of the governor's. Now, board members, administrators and politicians are all raising questions about the way the board functions.
The president of Saint Louis University, Rev. Lawrence Biondi, sent a conciliatory letter Wednesday to faculty members and students, many of whom have been calling for his ouster, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Father Biondi pledged to be more collaborative, to work to improve the faculty role in governance, and to increase faculty and staff salaries. Faculty leaders say they want to see evidence that he will carry out the pledges. “I think people don’t have enough information to know if this is sincere or not,” said Ellen Carnaghan, chair of political science. “At this point, words are not enough.”
WASHINGTON – The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday and now headed to President Obama’s desk to be signed, includes the Campus SaVE Act, a provision that will require more crime reporting and sexual assault prevention measures. Higher education and civil rights groups have been pushing Congress since last year to pass a version of the bill that would expand more protections to college students.
The House’s vote to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA ends a long, contentious political battle over whether to include LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims (the House didn't want to). With the passage of the SaVE Act, colleges will be required to report instances of dating violence and stalking in addition to other crimes they must already report under the Clery Act. They must also strengthen procedures for notifying victims of their legal rights and maintain campuswide policies for addressing and preventing sexual assault.
Many admissions officers, not to mention college presidents, have for years complained that prospective students focus too much on "sticker price" (stated prices of a college) rather than the actual cost to students and families (which may be considerably lower than sticker price, once aid is factored in). A new survey by the Art & Science Group and the College Board of SAT test-takers finds that the frustration is likely to remain. More than half (54 percent) of students reported that they judge a college's cost by sticker price without considering financial aid. And the survey was conducted in last 2012, after much publicity over the availability of "net price calculators," which allow those who share basic financial information to find out how much aid they would receive at a given college.
Bridgepoint Education Inc. announced Thursday that its Ashford University has been placed "on notice" by the for-profit college's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The sanction, which is less serious than probation, is based on the commission's concerns about Ashford's inability to meet new standards for accreditation, which the commission put into effect in January, as well as Ashford's current noncompliance with the accreditor's "substantial presence policy" (which requires institutions to have a meaningful physical presence in the agency's geographic region), according to a Bridgepoint corporate filing. Ashford last year had its bid rejected for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. And the commission's sanction follows a site team's recommendation last week that the University of Phoenix be put on probation.
Rumors abound in Russia that many top leaders have degrees that they didn't really earn, but some officials are starting to tackle the issue of plagiarism. Time reported that the deputy minister of education and science reviewed 25 dissertations at random from the history department at Moscow Pedagogical State University. With one exception, all were found to be extensively plagiarized, with some having as much as 90 percent of the material copied.
The University of Utah suspended its head swimming coach Thursday after allegations surfaced that he had engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old member of a swim club he coached in Arizona several years ago, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Maricopa County (Ariz.) attorney’s office is reviewing the allegations against Greg Winslow, and no charges have been filed yet, the newspaper said. In a statement provided to the newspaper, the university's athletics director, Chris Hill, noted that the student allegedly involved in the incident had no affiliation with the university. But "I feel the allegations are serious enough to suspend [Winslow] immediately pending further investigation," Hill said.
Many colleges routinely ignore adjuncts when it comes to providing technology used for teaching. This year at Houston Community College's Southwest Campus, 200 adjuncts were given iPads to help in teaching, The Houston Chronicle reported. Next year, another 200 will receive them. Officials said that they wanted the non-tenure-track faculty members to have appropriate tools.