Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 13, 2013

Gary Russi, president of Oakland University, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down. The Detroit Free Press noted that the announcement, which was a surprise, came the same day the university fired his wife, Beckie Francis, as women's basketball coach. Any connection between the two events was not immediately clear, the newspaper said.

June 13, 2013

Adjuncts and other part-time employees working for public colleges and universities in Washington State could have their health benefits threatened by pending legislation, The Seattle Times reported. Details are vague, which is part of why many are alarmed. And some view the legislation as a bargaining chip. But the budget bill would eliminate state-funded insurance for part-time employees of public schools and public higher ed. The part-time employees would receive an additional $2 an hour to buy coverage options created by the new federal health care law. Many say that most part-timers would end up either having to pay more themselves to maintain coverage or would lose some coverage. The legislation is notable because Washington State has historically provided more health insurance to adjuncts, who have organized around the issue, than has been the case in many other states.

 

June 13, 2013

The uproar over the "KUboobs" Twitter account is being called a "boobment." The account features photographs that women send in showing their cleavage with University of Kansas T-shirts and other KU accoutrements. Fans of other colleges and universities have started similar accounts. Rumors spread this week that the University of Kansas was trying to have the site -- with which it has no affiliation -- shut down. Online outrage followed, along with new hashtags such as #saveKUboobs and #IloveKUboobs. The university has denied trying to shut down the site, maintaining only that it was seeking to prevent the site's founders from selling merchandise that infringes on university trademarks for KU material. The dispute appears to have drawn more attention to the Twitter account, which now has more than 63,000 followers.

June 13, 2013

Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, was sharply critical of the for-profit sector during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. The hearing was on the U.S. Department of Defense's tuition assistance program for members of the U.S. military. Durbin, who has tangled with for-profits before, grilled Frederick Vollrath, the assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, over the Pentagon's oversight of the program. For-profits received half of the $660 million the federal government spent on military tuition assistance last year. Yet Durbin said only 200 department counselors are on hand to help the 200,000 military students who receive tuition assistance. And he said the department audits only 1 percent of participating colleges each year.

June 13, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Thomas Wartenberg of Mount Holyoke College reveals the philosophical thought that exists in children’s picture books. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

June 12, 2013

Princeton University reopened the campus Tuesday evening after evacuating for eight hours due to a bomb threat. A statement from the university said: "The university received a phone call from someone who said multiple bombs were placed throughout campus at unspecified locations. After determining that the threat was credible, university officials ordered the campus evacuated. Faculty and staff were sent home; students were told to go to public places in the town of Princeton, including the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Arts Council and the Nassau Inn.... Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in from law enforcement agencies and searched campus in a coordinated effort with university staff members. No explosive devices were found. The university takes all threats to the safety and well being of its community members and visitors seriously."

The University of New Hampshire also received and investigated a bomb threat Tuesday, but did not evacuate, and determined that the threat was a hoax.

June 12, 2013

The faculty athletics representative at the University of Richmond has circulated an e-mail to colleagues calling for the institution to leave Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to stop playing intercollegiate football, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. "I have come to the conclusion that it’s hard-to-impossible to consistently make DI-level sports conform and submit to the primary institutional focus on academics, because there’s just too much money and ambition involved," said  the e-mail from Rick Mayes, an associate professor of political science. Noting concerns about the impact of concussions on football players, he asked whether it would not be better -- for the sake of athletes and to prevent future lawsuits -- to drop football. University administrators indicated that Richmond has no intention of taking the advice Mayes offered.DI and DIII in quotes are sic per article -sj

June 12, 2013

The foundation of San Francisco State University has agreed to not invest in companies "with significant production or use of coal and tar sands." Further the foundation will seek to limit investments in fossil fuel companies. Advocates for divestment of fossil fuel companies said that they viewed the move as significant. To date, colleges that have embraced divestment have been small, private colleges in the Northeast, while San Francisco State is the first Western or public institution to take such a stand. The foundation's endowment is in the range of $50 million.

 

June 12, 2013
  • Lisa H. Conti, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Connecticut, has been appointed as assistant professor of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University, also in Connecticut.
  • Joe Diaz, an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University and Marian University, has been selected as director of corporate learning and operations at Harrison College.
  • Andrew Hermalyn, executive vice president for university relations at 2U, has been chosen as executive vice president and general manager of 2U's Semester Online.
  • Irene Scruton, executive director of the Safety Council of Central and Western New York, has been named MBA Director at the State University of New York at Oswego.
  • Michaele Whelan, vice provost for academic affairs at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, has been named vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College, also in Massachusetts.
  • Mel Williams Jr., associate deputy secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been appointed as senior associate dean for military and veterans initiatives at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.

The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes and promotions, please click here.

June 12, 2013

A large majority of Americans -- 76 percent -- oppose the consideration of race in college admissions decisions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, issued with the Supreme Court about to rule on the issue. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to favor the consideration of race, 28 percent to 12 percent. Among racial and ethnic groups, the highest level of support for consideration of race was by Hispanics (29 percent). By educational attainment, those with some postgraduate education were more likely than those with other levels to favor the consideration of race (28 percent).

 

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