Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 3:00am

With Newt Gingrich's poll numbers falling, he wasn't able to answer a barrage of political advertisements from his critics. But The New York Times noted that one of the ads on the airwaves that linked Gingrich to the evangelical movement wasn't paid for by Gingrich's campaign, but by Liberty University, which ran an ad spot in which Gingrich talks of his respect for the university. The ad is all about Liberty, but is running at a time that Gingrich would appear to benefit from associations with prominent religious institutions.

 

 

The article noted that some are wondering whether this move amounts to an endorsement of Gingrich -- an endorsement inconsistent with the laws governing nonprofit organizations. A Liberty University statement said that the ad was not an endorsement. "The ad was filmed October 27, 2010 and has been running since that time in various markets. Liberty University has a rotation of ads in its national advertising campaign and it adjusts the mix from time to time," said the statement.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 3:00am

Average grades have fallen at King's College of the University of Cambridge, and officials say that's because of the high level of involvement of students in protesting the British government's plans for higher education, Times Higher Education reported. Among Cambridge's colleges, King's fell to 20th from 14th (out of 29) in grades. The provost, Ross Harrison, said that the reason was protest. Undergraduates "flung themselves into resistance," he said. and "some of the most active political performers descended in their results as compared with last year."

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 4:24am

A trial started Maryland on a suit by supporters of Maryland's historically black colleges who say that the state is failing to meet its obligations to them, The Washington Post reported. Under past desegregation agreements, the state pledged to enhance the colleges so they could compete for all kinds of students in an era when predominantly white colleges recruit black students. The plaintiffs argue that the state has been too slow to build up programs at the black colleges, while state officials argue that black colleges have seen larger increases in state support than have other institutions.

 

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 3:00am

Representative John Kline, the Minnesota Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan to explain the department's choice of negotiators for rule making panels this month on the federal student loan program. The department has said the negotiations, announced in October, will focus largely on technical issues. But the negotiators are also drawn from consumer protection groups, leading Kline and Representative Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the higher education subcommittee, to ask for the department's rationale for why each constituency is relevant to the technical issues listed in the initial rule making notice, a list of all nominated negotiators, a description of the vetting process and the negotiators' credentials, as well as any new issues the department intends to address at the panel. "We are ... concerned about whether the panel represents the balanced perspective appropriate for any rule making process or is simply an attempt to raise new issues during the negotiation that furthers the policy goals of the administration," Kline and Foxx wrote. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 3:00am

In the aftermath of devastatingly high-profile confrontations between campus police officers and peaceful student protesters, University of California President Mark Yudof urged the system chancellors during a telephone meeting to review their incident response policies and procedures, confer with campus leaders before taking action, place a senior administrator at major demonstrations, and direct campus police chiefs “to show restraint when dealing with peaceful and lawful demonstrations.”

However, Yudof's taking time to “reiterate” those processes didn’t bring much comfort to Charles Schwartz, the University of California at Berkeley professor emeritus of physics who obtained Yudof’s e-mail recap of the discussion via state public records law. “Does the President of our University have no understanding whatsoever of the concept of nonviolent civil disobedience? Such acts are often deliberate violations of some law, carried out by nonviolent means for moral and political reasons,” Schwartz wrote on his blog. “According to Yudof’s principle, such demonstrations on this university’s campuses may well be met with violent (unrestrained) actions by our own police, acting under orders from the chancellors.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, vowed Saturday that, as president, he would veto the federal DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for students brought by their parents to the United States without legal authorization who have completed high school and college, Reuters reported. Romney also vowed to oppose state versions of the law that grant such students in-state tuition rates. Governor Rick Perry's defense of such a law in Texas has been controversial with many Republican activists. In his speech Saturday, Romney said: "The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes.... For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits, I find to be contrary to the idea of a nation of laws. If I'm the president of the United States I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration. I like legal immigration."

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

An investigation in The New York Times examines the increasingly complicated and increasingly lucrative contracts of head coaches of big-time college football programs. The bulk of compensation typically comes outside of the base salary and total compensation deals are in the multiple millions. The article focuses on the two coaches who will face off next week for the national championship: Nick Saban of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Les Miles of Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. The coaches can earn $600,000 and $500,000, respectively based on the athletic performance of their teams. They can earn $100,000 and $200,000, respectively, based on meeting certain academic goals for their players.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

As the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s annual convention approaches, colleges are mounting substantial opposition to the scholarship reform measures that the Division I Board of Directors put in place this fall. Two weeks ago, the number of Division I colleges petitioning to overturn a rule that allowed for more substantial athletic scholarships reached a tipping point (125), immediately suspending the legislation and putting it up for potential elimination at the upcoming convention. Now, a rule allowing for multi-year scholarships faces a similar fate.

The latter rule seeks to eliminate the one-year limit on athletic scholarships, and the former would allow institutions to provide up to $2,000 per student in additional funds to help fill the gap between what full athletic scholarships now cover and the actual cost of attending college. The number of institutions requesting an override of the multi-year scholarship rule isn’t yet high enough to automatically suspend that legislation, but at least 75 have opposed it, qualifying it for reconsideration at the board’s Jan. 14 convention meeting. There, the board has three options to deal with both rules: eliminate them, do nothing and allow an override vote by all Division I members, or alter the proposals to address the concerns.

According to an NCAA statement, the colleges’ main complaints stemmed from desires to award athletic aid in the same way most academic aid is given out -- annually -- and worries over recruiting bidding wars and additional monitoring to make sure teams don’t over-promise aid. Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, has suggested that both rules can be modified to satisfy the colleges that want an override.

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

In Texas and in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Governor Rick Perry has boasted of his administration's efforts to promote job growth. As The Bryan/College Station Eagle reported, one of his largest such efforts was a $50 million grant in 2005 to create a business-university biomedical research center. He promised at the time -- when some questioned the size of the investment -- that the state would benefit from thousands of new jobs as well as life-saving medical breakthroughs. The Eagle examined the project today and found that the business that received more than 70 percent of the funds has since eliminated the jobs of half of its employees, and given up its role in the project. The university partner, the Texas A&M University System, has kept the program alive, and the program currently employs nine people.

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

Lake Superior State University has released its annual list of "Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness." This year's list features several from politics and economics ("occupy," "the new normal," "shared sacrifice"), others from pop culture ("man cave," "baby bump") and others misused in all kinds of circumstances ("amazing," "ginormous"). The complete list may be found here.

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