Higher Education Quick Takes
Gallaudet University, which at various points in recent years has seen debates over whether it remains sufficiently committed to deaf culture, is having another such discussion. The Washington Post reported that the current tensions relate to an increase in the last four years, from 33 percent to 44 percent, in the percentage of undergraduates who were educated in mainstream public schools rather than schools for the deaf. Some of these students grew up with cochlear implants. There are now 102 such students, double the number in 2005.
Several hundred students at the University of Auckland occupied a floor of the business school there for several hours today, as student groups nationwide vowed to step up similar protests, over legislation headed toward passage in New Zealand's parliament. The legislation would end a requirement that all students at a university be members of that institution's student union, and leaders of the student unions say that the legislation is an attempt to reduce their power.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College faculty members went on strike Friday. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, says that the college's contract offer would use a switch in the college calender to inappropriately increase faculty workloads, and would do so in ways that would hinder the ability of professors to educate students. A spokesman for the college said that courses were being taught as scheduled. The college posted a statement on its website saying that that it had an obligation to reject union demands "to pay somebody more for significantly less work."
The Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University has endorsed the first-ever contract accord with the institution's new union for adjunct faculty members, AnnArbor.com reported. The union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, was formed last summer and represents about 800 part-time or contingent instructors. The members of the new EMU Federation of Teachers ratified the contract last week, and Eastern Michigan's board approved it Tuesday. “This affords the lecturers an important sense of stability,” Geoff Larcom, a university spokesman, told AnnArbor.com. “To get this deal done is significant, given it’s their first contract and given their extreme value of the students and the university.”
A jury this week concluded that Upper Iowa University had improperly dismissed a former employee in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and awarded her $1.1 million in back pay and damages, The Courier of Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa, reported. Lynne Seabrook was an assistant registrar of international programs at the time Upper Iowa fired her in 2009, and she alleged that the university had not provided accommodations after she was diagnosed with depression and other conditions. Upper Iowa officials said that Seabrook had never formally requested accommodations, and said they were likely to appeal, the newspaper reported.
Harvard University's endowment, the largest in the nation, had a 21.4 percent return in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the university announced Thursday. The return continues the recovery from the huge losses the university experienced in the fall of 2008. The university's endowment now stands at $32 billion.
Gov. Rick Perry's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination heartily attacked his stance letting undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition at Texas public universities at the sixth GOP debate Thursday night. The issue, on which Michelle Bachman took the lead during the last such debate, became a key focus of Thursday night's event, with numerous candidates criticizing Perry for taking too liberal a stance. "I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas -- to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount," said Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. "You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me.
The Common Application announced Thursday that it is planning a new online system for processing applications, and that it will expand its staff to handle the various technology functions, ending the practice of outsourcing such functions. More details will be announced in the months ahead, but the Common Application said that new features should be introduced as part of the process. The popular application system has grown significantly in recent years, and it also affirmed that it will keep as a key membership requirement that participating colleges use "holistic" admissions, involving subjective criteria such as essays and recommendations, not just data such as grades and test scores.
Weeks after a Pittsburgh-area businessman announced a $265 million donation to Carnegie Mellon University, the donor has pledged $125 million to the city's main public university. The University of Pittsburgh said Thursday that William S. Dietrich II, a former steel industry executive, would make the gift upon his death, and that the institution would rename its arts and sciences school for Dietrich's father.