Higher Education Quick Takes
In this month's edition of The Pulse podcast, Rod Murray discusses how to manage your social media portfolio with the help of "If This Then That," as well as Apple's new podcast app. The Pulse is Inside Higher Ed's monthly technology podcast, produced by Murray, executive director of the office of academic technology at University of the Sciences. Find out more about The Pulse here.
The parent company of competency-based New Charter University is today announcing that it has bought Patten University, a regionally accredited nonprofit institution in California. UniversityNow, Inc., which introduced New Charter as a low-cost higher education provider that awards credit for what students prove they know and can do, said in a news release that its purchase of Patten would allow it to offer four-year degrees for roughly $10,000. Patten has hired Janet Holmgren, the longtime president of Mills College, also in Oakland, as its president.
Bridgepoint Education announced today that the senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges had denied its bid for initial accreditation for Ashford University, the for-profit company's highest-profile institution. Ashford remains accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, but it had sought accreditation in the West -- where Bridgepoint is headquartered -- in part because of the Higher Learning Commission's increasingly chilly treatment of for-profit institutions.
Bridgepoint said that Ashford would both appeal the Western accreditor's decision and reapply for initial accreditation.
WASC's review of Ashford, which the accreditor is due to release later today, had been highly watched, especially because Congressional critics of the for-profit sector had sought to make fast-growing Ashford a poster child for how -- in their eyes -- some institutions have manipulated the accreditation system.
Details of why the Western accreditor denied Ashford's accreditation will be available later today. Follow Inside Higher Ed for continuing coverage.
President Obama and many educators are encouraging more American students to earn advanced degrees in science, but the jobs may not be there for those who do so, The Washington Post reported. There are fewer jobs in academe, but also in many of the business fields that have in the past hired science Ph.D.s. Many companies have slashed research jobs, the Post noted.
Vienna Medical University is taking some criticism (particularly from men) for a policy that favors female applicants. The Associated Press reported that the university adjusts admissions test scores -- which determine admission -- based on the average scores for men and women. Since women score lower, on average, than do men, a score by a female applicant counts for more than the exact same score by a man. For instance, in the case of a man and woman both scoring 130, the woman's test grade would be 117.7 and the man's would be 114.8 because the average score for women on the exam is 97 and the average score for males is 102. Some women have joined men in questioning the policy, saying that they fear they will be seen as "quota women."
- Jane E. Clark, professor of kinesiology at the University of Maryland at College Park, has been named dean of the School of Public Health there.
- Tom Gattis, associate vice president for academics at the Hong Kong campus of Savannah College of Art & Design, has been named chair of industrial design at Columbus College of Art & Design.
- Kenneth C. Gotsch, CFO/vice chancellor of finance at City Colleges of Chicago, has been chosen as CFO at Columbia College Chicago.
Sheila Dove Jones, interim director of the Office of Planning and Assessment at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has been promoted to the job on a permanent basis.
- Lori A. Lewis, vice president for advancement at Marietta College, in Ohio, has been selected as vice president for institutional advancement at McDaniel College, in Maryland.
- Sylvia Spears, assistant vice president for academic initiatives at New England College, in New Hampshire, has been appointed as vice president for diversity and inclusion at at Emerson College, in Massachusetts.
In the United States, many lament that it takes students too long to graduate. In Germany, the School of Economics and Management in Essen is suing Marcel Pohl, for $3,772 that the institution lost in tuition revenue when he finished a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in 3 semesters, not the 11 that would have been expected, UPI reported. The university declined to comment. Pohl said, "When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true. Performance is supposed to be worth something."
Syracuse University on Thursday released the results of an independent investigation into how the institution responded to 2005 allegations that Bernie Fine, then an assistant basketball coach, had sexually abused a boy from around the time the child was 12 -- and the new report faulted some aspects of the university's 2005 response. That year as well, the university sought outside legal help, and that inquiry found that the allegations could not be substantiated.
The report released Thursday did not dispute that finding. But it raised questions about Syracuse's handling of the incident. The university's summary of the new report says that it "concludes that when viewed in hindsight, the process was imperfect, and some of the judgments made could have been better. Among other things, the report notes that the university should have made direct contact with law enforcement; that the university’s counsel should have alerted the chancellor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Laurie Fine, Bernie Fine’s wife; and that the Board of Trustees (or some components thereof) should have been informed of the allegations."
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has placed Kean University on probation, citing questions about whether the university is adequately measuring student learning, and whether there is an atmosphere that promotes respect among students, faculty members and administrators, The Star-Ledger reported. Dawood Farahi, the president, and Ada Morell, the board president, issued a statement blasting the accreditor, accusing it of carrying out a "staff-driven agenda" designed to hurt the university's reputation.