Higher Education Quick Takes
Northeastern University on Tuesday officially unveiled plans to open a Seattle graduate campus in September. The Boston-based university last year launched a graduate campus in Charlotte, N.C., and plans to start other campuses in Austin, Minneapolis and Silicon Valley. The Seattle branch will feature 16 degree programs, including cybersecurity and engineering, which will be geared to the city's technology sector. Tayloe Washburn, a local business leader, will be the campus's dean and executive officer.
A panel of the California State University Board of Trustees has endorsed a plan that it hopes will halt intense criticism of the board's moves to increase pay for campus presidents at a time of deep budget cuts. The plan would freeze state-funded pay for campus presidents, but allow foundations to provide new presidents with additional pay up to 10 percent more than that received by their predecessors, The Los Angeles Times reported. So far, critics aren't dropping their concerns. "They are trying to run it like a for-profit business, but we're a public university, so it's the citizens that are really paying," said Liz Cara, a professor of occupational therapy at San Jose State University.
State grant programs for college students should move beyond their traditional dichotomy between “need based” and “merit based” aid and instead target students with financial need but set expectations and support for college success, says a report published Tuesday by a Brookings Institution panel. The report, which was discussed at an event at Brookings Tuesday and outlined in an essay on Inside Higher Ed, argues that the grants must be made more effective given their increasing performance as tuition costs rise and other state support for higher education erodes.
University of Utah faculty members are willing to move class locations on days that night football games will be played on campus, but they issued a plan Monday designed to demonstrate that there is no need to call off classes, as was done last season, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Faculty leaders said that it was important to make a statement about the values of the institution by not calling off classes just because of a weeknight football game. "Do we want to send a message that the education of our students is secondary to other interests? We have made a commitment as an institution to accommodate what we do for a living, and that’s education," said Patricia Hanna, a professor of linguistics.
Major League Baseball and the National Collegiate Athletic Association are in the early stages of discussion of a potential partnership in which the professional league could fund scholarships and otherwise support the sport at the collegiate level, the Associated Press and CBSsports.com reported. The AP quoted Walt Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and a leader in NCAA governance, said he was "cautious" about whether the partnership would come about, but that he could envision similar arrangements occurring in golf and other sports.
Hebrew College has abandoned plans to sell its campus to pay off its debt, The Boston Globe reported. The college had planned to move into leased space. But 18 months after announcing plans to sell the campus, the college has managed to reduce its spending on administrative functions, and to attract enough new backing to stay put.
The University of Michigan is today unveiling a new way to encourage faculty research innovation. In a $15 million program called MCubed, faculty members will receive a token for $20,000. When three faculty members decide to "cube" their tokens and work together on a project, they will receive -- on a first-come, first-served basis -- $60,000 to hire one graduate student, undergraduate student, or postdoctoral researcher to begin work on the idea. Thirty faculty members could cube together and get funds for 10 such positions. The idea is to let researchers quickly move toward testing their projects, rather than going through the long peer review process to receive an initial planning grant. Michigan officials hope these "cubed" grants will let researchers move quickly into position to apply for much larger outside grants.
“The world has changed and yet higher education’s funding model is the same. With the speed at which people communicate and share information today, we see an opportunity to do things in a very different way. This is a totally new model that could turn things upside down,” said Mark Burns, professor and chair of chemical engineering. Burns developed the idea with Alec Gallimore and Thomas Zurbuchen, both associate deans in the College of Engineering.
The University of Miami is preparing to lay off as many as 800 employees, roughly 8 percent of its work force, amid cutbacks in state and federal funds and payments by insurers, The Miami Herald reported. Although Miami is a private institution that often operates out of public view, it signaled its plans on a state website Tuesday because of a Florida law that requires employers to warn of layoffs that would affect 500 or more workers.
The faculty union of the University of Rhode Island has filed an unfair labor practice charge after the state's Board of Governors for Higher Education rejected a three-year contract that had been negotiated with the union, The Providence Journal reported. The board also rejected contracts for other public colleges, and for graduate students at the university. Board members said that they didn't have enough information on the financial implications of the contracts. A statement from the American Association of University Professors, which represents the faculty members and grad students at the university, blasted the move, saying that "board negotiators represented to us that they were authorized to reach agreement with us."