Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

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.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Thomas of the University of Northern Colorado explains how businesses and other organizations view their place in the communities that exist around them. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

College and school leaders in seven states have been chosen to work together in teams to ensure that the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English are implemented in the most effective ways. The states -- Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts,
Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin -- were chosen by the three groups that make up the College Readiness Partnership: the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The partnership hopes that the strategies identified by the seven state groups will serve as models for other states.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

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.”

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

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.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Jobs for the Future has begun a program that provides community colleges with up-to-date information about the hiring and skill needs of local employers. Dubbed "Credentials That Work," the initiative uses new technology that can aggregate and analyze online job ads. Participating community colleges can use the labor market data to adjust their program offerings and course curriculums, according to the group. The Joyce and Lumina Foundations are funding the program, and this month 10 community colleges began using the technology. Jobs for the Future has also released a related report about alignment between community colleges and their local job markets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system committee for each search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

About 1 million additional 19- to 25-year-olds obtained health insurance in the first three months of 2011, at least in part thanks to a provision in President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation, which raised by six years the age at which young adults are no longer eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. The total of young adults with health insurance rose from 66.1 percent of the relevant age group in 2010 to 69.6 percent in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday; however, it is unclear how many of these newly covered 19- to 26-year-olds are college students. The news was celebrated by Young Invincibles, the health care advocacy group that has backed Obama’s legislation, which would also subject student health plans provided through colleges and universities to additional provisions beginning in the 2012 academic year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

St. Francis University, in Pennsylvania, has withdrawn an invitation to Ellen Goodman, the columnist, to give a talk about civility. The reason for the nixed invitation, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, is that Goodman supports abortion rights, a view that did not go over well with leaders of the Roman Catholic institution. "After careful consideration, the university feels that the body of your work has reflected statements that are not in close enough alignment with some Catholic teachings and with the values and mission of the university as required for an event of this stature," Provost Wayne Powel wrote to Goodman. Her reply: "Imagine my disappointment at having my plea for civility returned with a pie in the face."

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