Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 26, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Silverman of Winthrop University discusses Abraham Lincoln’s stances on the subject. Learn more about the Academic Minute here. And check back tomorrow and Friday for new Academic Minute episodes.

November 25, 2014

Many students and legislators are angry that Kean University paid $219,000 for a custom-built conference room table, NJ.com reported. The university did not seek bids on the project and used a Chinese company as part of an effort to build ties to China. Dawood Farahi, Kean's president, told NorthJersey.com it was "small-minded" to make inquiries about the cost of the table.

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Kean, via email to Inside Higher Ed, said the table should be viewed as a "conferencing center" because it includes electronic equipment, storage for the equipment and lighting, and is more than the conference table itself. The photo below is of the table.

November 25, 2014

Maryann Jones, incoming president of the Charleston School of Law, resigned after just eight days on the job, according to The Post and Courier, a Charleston newspaper. The law school's possible sale to a for-profit chain, the InfiLaw System, has been a source of controversy. Jones said in a written statement that she decided not to sign her job contract because of "the level of vitriol, with all sides making me a lightning rod for an unfortunate situation that was not of my making."

November 25, 2014

Adjuncts at two Vermont institutions -- Burlington and Champlain Colleges -- have voted to form unions affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The union is organizing adjunct faculty members across the country, in metro-wide and regional efforts, as part of its Adjunct Action campaign. Burlington and Champlain are the first colleges in Vermont to see unions as part of that effort. At Champlain, the tally was 118 to 30, out of 219 eligible faculty members. The tally at Burlington College was 23 to 4, out of 46 eligible voters. Donald L. Laackman, Champlain's president, said in a statement that the college will "do its part to work productively with the SEIU in the best interest of our students and all our faculty." A Burlington official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

November 25, 2014

City Colleges of Chicago have settled with the U.S. Department of Education over disputed federal aid payments, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The $4.3 million settlement grew out of a 2009 department review of aid payments made to student at the Chicago system's Kennedy-King College. Some of the college's paperwork to document federal aid disbursements included instances of forged signatures of students and parents, according to federal and internal reviews. City Colleges made changes to its financial-aid processes after the problems emerged, officials told the newspaper.

November 25, 2014

The massive open online course provider Coursera is taking cloud-based education to its most literal interpretation yet. Coursera's users will soon be able to watch 10 educational videos while flying on JetBlue as part of the airline's Fly-Fi onboard wireless internet service. In a blog post, Coursera said JetBlue will offer content from the Berklee School of Music and the Universities of Edinburgh and Pennsylvania, among other partners. The service should be available on any JetBlue flight by the end of the year.

November 25, 2014

Students in University of California at Berkeley's Graduate Journalism Program will pay an additional $7,500 in tuition per year, after the Board of Regent's approved a supplemental fee this week. Dean Edward Wasserman originally proposed a $10,250 per year fee, saying it was necessary to overcome a half-million-dollar budget gap and that much of the increase would go back to students in the form of financial aid. But students and alumni criticized the proposal, and faculty members voted in October to recommend the lower amount of $7,500, which the regents ultimately accepted. 

An email from Wasserman posted on JimRomenesko.com says the fee will go into effect next fall, but students will be refunded since they weren't able to plan for a new fee. The school will start collecting revenue from the fee in 2016. The UC Board of Regents last week also approved a system-wide tuition increase despite student protests. 

 

November 25, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Allison Redlich, associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Albany, profiles mental health courts. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 24, 2014

The Lion, one of Columbia University's student publications, recently tracked down the university's tax forms, which show that President Lee Bollinger received a $700,000 boost in total compensation, bringing total compensation to just over $3 million for the most recent year available. Some at Columbia, apparently not amused but with a sense of irony, have come up with an attention-getting way to draw attention to Bollinger's lucrative compensation.

They have decided to focus not on the raise, but on the apparent gap between Bollinger and Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago and possibly the president with the top package. An anonymous group called Prezbos Army is crowdsourcing a campaign to raise the $350,000 that could put Bollinger on top. The campaign is called Fair Salary for Prezbo. So far, there has been only one donation, for $5.

 

November 24, 2014

Students started sit-ins last week at the University of California's campuses at Berkeley and Santa Cruz to protest the Board of Regents' vote to approve tuition increases for the system. The Berkeley sit-in started Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. The protesting students there are issuing updates and demands through this website. Cornel West, a professor of philosophy at Union Theological Seminary, stopped by the Santa Cruz sit-in to endorse the effort. He said occupying buildings "puts the spotlight on an issue."

 

 

 

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