Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Baltimore International College, a nonprofit college that focuses on culinary and hospitality education, is finding it more difficult than expected to save its accreditation by merging into a for-profit institution. After the Middle States Commission on Higher Education revoked recognition, Baltimore International announced plans to merge into Stratford University, with the hope that Maryland officials and Stratford's accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, would approve the switch. But Middle States rejected the college's bid to hold on to its accreditation until a switch can be made, forcing Baltimore International into court this week to obtain a restraining order to stay accredited. Now in order to win an injunction to preserve accreditation from Middle States while it pursues the merger and new accreditation, the college may need to offer evidence that it has quality that Middle States previously doubted, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board has rejected a bid by the United Auto Workers for the right to hold an election to unionize graduate research and teaching assistants at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. The ruling cited past findings by the NLRB that graduate student workers at private universities should generally be considered to be students, not employees. However, the ruling also noted that there are ways that the graduate students at NYU-Poly interact with the university as students, and that there are other ways that represent more of an economic relationship. With regard to research assistants, the ruling cited more reasons -- based on their support with external grants -- why they should not be considered eligible for collective bargaining.

The UAW -- which wants a way to challenge the precedents cited in the ruling -- is expected to appeal the decision. Union officials did not respond to e-mail or calls seeking comment. A spokesman for NYU, James Devitt, issued a statement praising the NLRB ruling. "The ruling not only follows the precedent [of the ruling finding teaching assistants to be students] ... but also acknowledges that even if that decision was overturned, research assistants would still not be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act -- a conclusion consistent with four decades of precedent."

The UAW is also seeking to organize teaching assistants at NYU's main campus, and expects to use that case to push for a reconsideration of these issues by the NLRB.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

A recent article here explored how West Virginia University and some of the other champion universities at obtaining earmarks are adjusting to a post-earmark era. An article today in The Boston Globe looks at how colleges in Massachusetts -- a state with some universities that do quite well under peer review distribution of grants -- are shifting gears. While many of the colleges are hiring lobbyists to find federal funds, others are laying off workers, accepting that funds won't be as easy to obtain as in the past.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

More than 200 members of United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, protested at the Canton campus Wednesday over a plan to have a single president (not the current Canton leader) for the Canton and Potsdam campuses, North Country Now reported. Canton faculty members say that savings will be minimal if any, and that the two-campus presidency shouldn't be forced on them. SUNY is a 64-campus system facing deep budget cuts, and system leaders say that they hope to promote efficiency by sharing campus services where possible, including a few presidencies.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University of Texas at Austin's Michael Webber discusses how when we waste food, we are also wasting valuable energy. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Wide gaps persist in the graduation rates of Division I football players and other male students, and these gaps are not limited to "football factory" institutions, according to a report released this morning by the College Sport Research Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study found only two conferences in Division I -- the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- in which football players graduated at rates greater than the full-time male student body. The Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10) had the greatest gap, with football players graduating at a rate 26 points lower than other male students.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

New data from Statistics Canada show full-time faculty salaries increased by 2.5 percent in the last year, while inflation rose by 2.7 percent, Maclean's reported. The new data also showed a slight gain (of 1.3 percent) in the share of university teaching positions held by women. Men hold 62.4 percent of such positions.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

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