Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Minnesota and its men’s basketball coach were not negligent in their dealings with an aspiring assistant coach who said he left his previous institution because Minnesota had promised him a job there, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The decision overturns previous rulings from the district and appeals court that found in favor of James R. Williams, the assistant coach, and frees Minnesota of any damages.
Williams sued in 2007, alleging that he had accepted an assistant coaching job offer from the coach, Tubby Smith, but never got it. Minnesota maintained that Smith had interviewed Williams, but never reached an employment agreement because of Williams’s record of National Collegiate Athletic Association recruiting violations. The university also pointed out that it did not encourage Williams to resign from Oklahoma State University and put his house on the market. The court found that Smith had in fact told Williams that the athletics director would make the final hiring decision, so the university could not have misled Williams, as he claimed.
A New Jersey appeals court ruled that the state illegally denied student aid to a woman who is a U.S. citizen, but whose mother lacks the legal right to reside in the United States, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that there was no reason to judge the student based on anything but her legal status to be in the United States.
Higher One, a student payment processing service, on Tuesday announced its purchase of Campus Labs, a software company focused on student affairs. Higher One is a publicly traded company that currently dominates the market for debit cards colleges use to disburse financial aid to students, a business that has at times been controversial. The purchase of Campus Labs marks an expansion by the company into a new area.
Students with disabilities have a more difficult transition to college and the work force than do other students, and the lack of coordination among federal agencies and programs contributes to those problems, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report Tuesday.
Online teacher education is growing rapidly, according to an analysis published by USA Today. The newspaper found that four large universities (three of them for-profit) have become the largest teacher education institutions in the country, measured by degrees awarded. In the top spot is the University of Phoenix Online, which awarded 5,976 education degrees in 2011, up from 72 a decade before. The top four institutions awarded 1 in 16 bachelor's degree and post-graduate certificates in education in 2011, and 1 in 11 master's and doctoral degrees.
The University of Virginia announced Tuesday that the institution's chief operating officer, Michael Strine, has resigned after just over a year in the position. "Michael recently determined that it would be in the best interest of the University that he step down and allow me to do some necessary internal restructuring," said President Teresa Sullivan in a statement.
Strine, who came to U.Va. from Johns Hopkins University in July 2011, was a central figure in the drama surrounding Sullivan's resignation and reappointment in June, with sources close to the president saying that Strine met frequently with board members without informing Sullivan of the discussion and was highly critical of Sullivan's leadership. "Though it is hard to step aside, I am confident that this step helps the University and those it serves by allowing this Board and President the opportunity to pursue changes aimed at ensuring communication, accountability and shared governance," Strine said in a statement.
A federal judge was correct in a 2010 ruling that Quinnipiac University violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it attempted to replace volleyball with competitive cheerleading, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said Tuesday -- reaffirming that the latter cannot be counted as a varsity sport under Title IX, and that its athletes may not count toward gender equity requirements. Experts called the 2010 decision a “cautionary tale” for other colleges.
Competitive cheerleading doesn’t qualify under Title IX because it is run differently from other varsity sports; there was no off-campus recruiting, for instance, and no uniform rules for competition throughout the season. The court also noted that it is not yet recognized as a sport -- “or even an ‘emerging sport’ “ -- by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The proportion of all higher education employees whose work focuses on instruction or research rather than administration edged up slightly in 2011, but the proportion of instructors at four-year public universities who worked part time continued to rise, according to data released Tuesday by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics. The statistics, included in an annual publication that examines data on colleges' employment patterns and student financial aid, show the number of workers rising to 3.92 million at postsecondary institutions that award federal financial aid, with about 1.9 million involved in instruction or research (including graduate assistants) and the rest in administration or staff jobs. Of the instructional/research staff at public four-year institutions, 36.2 percent worked part time, up from 35.5 percent in 2010. The proportion of instructors who were part time actually fell, though, at community colleges and at private nonprofit four-year institutions.
The report also provides data on the price (before and after financial aid is awarded) at different types of institutions.