Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 9, 2014

The regional accrediting commissions for New England and the Mid-Atlantic states placed several colleges on probation at their most recent meetings.

Burlington College, in Vermont, announced that it had been cited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' Commission on Institutions of Higher Education for failing to meet the accreditor's standard for financial resources. College officials attributed the problem to debt the private four-year institution accumulated when it purchased property previously owned by a local diocese.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, meanwhile, placed three institutions on probation late last month: Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, in Pennsylvania; New York's Unification Theological Seminary, and the University of the Potomac, in Washington. Harrisburg was cited for failing to meet the commission's standards on institutional resources and assessment of student learning; the Unification seminary for shortcomings on those two standards as well as others related to "mission and goals" and student admissions and retention; and University of the Potomac for planning and resource allocation, institutional resources), institutional assessment, and assessment of student learning.

July 9, 2014

One in five women and one in five black Ph.D. recipients in science, technology, engineering or math leave those fields for careers outside STEM, according to a new report from the American Institutes for Research. That's compared to one in six STEM Ph.D.s over all who leave the sciences for other careers. Women of all races are also significantly less likely to report research and development as a primary work activity. Lori Turk-Bicakci, lead author, said such "brain drain" restricts the potential advantages gained from diverse perspectives in STEM. Data was drawn from the National Science Foundation's longitudinal Survey of Doctorate Recipients; most of those surveyed have had their degrees for 10 years or more. The report says that 40 percent of those who leave STEM work in the private, for-profit sector. The report doesn't specify how many Ph.D. recipients working in academe in particular left the STEM fields.

July 9, 2014

Weeks after its annual gathering, Instructure, which produces Canvas, finds itself without a chief technology officer. Joel Dehlin's resignation came as a surprise to the company, said Devin Knighton, Instructure's director of public relations. The news was first reported by e-Literate. Dehlin joined the company in the summer of 2013. While the company searches for Dehlin's replacement, CTO duties will be handled by Instructure's vice presidents, Knighton said.

July 9, 2014

Case Western Reserve University has settled a law professor's lawsuit alleging that the institution retaliated against him for reporting alleged sexual harassment by its former law dean, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported. Raymond Ku, a professor and former associate dean at Case Western's law school, had alleged that he lost his administrative post after informing university administrators about incidents he and others witnessed in which then-Dean Lawrence Mitchell caressed a female staff member and made inappropriate sexual comments to others.

Mitchell later resigned, and Case cited inaccuracies in Kuh's lawsuit. But in a joint statement reported by the newspaper and published on the website of Kuh's lawyer, the university and Kuh said they had resolved their differences, and both sides said they believed the other had acted in the best interests of the university and its students.

Terms of the agreement were not revealed, except to note that Ku has been named director of the law school’s newly created Center for Cyberspace Law & Policy.

July 9, 2014

Faculty members at the Scripps Research Institute, a free-standing research institution in California and Florida, are organizing to oppose a possible merger with the University of Southern California, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The scholars are criticizing both the idea of a merger and what they say was a lack of input in developing the plans, which have not been finalized. Administrators at Scripps did not respond to requests for comment.

 

July 9, 2014

Seven public urban universities have been selected to receive $225,000 grants each to support the development and testing of new models for the sector, dealing with issues such as improved student success and cost efficiencies. The institutions are: Florida International University, Fresno State University, Georgia State University, Portland State University, Temple University, University of Akron, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The grants are from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, in a program supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

 

July 9, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Denise Dearing, a professor of biology at the University of Utah, explains her research on pikas -- rabbit-like mammals -- as a way to study the impact of climate change. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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July 8, 2014

Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System, released a statement late Monday outlining why he told Bill Powers, president of the flagship Austin campus, that he must resign promptly or be fired, The Texas Tribune reported. "The relationship between President Bill Powers, the Board of Regents and the Office of the Chancellor has been strained to the point of becoming fractured for several years," Cigarroa said.

More on the UT Situation

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Cigarroa did not attribute the break to any one single issue, but to "a breakdown of communication, collegiality, trust and a willingness to work together for the good of the university." He said "nothing could be further from the truth" than the view of many Powers supporters that the chancellor has acted on the direction of the governor or a few regents close to the governor.

With Powers resisting the demand that he resign soon, offering instead to do so after the next academic year, the issue now goes to the university's Board of Regents, which meets Thursday.

Faculty, alumni and student leaders -- along with many legislators -- have expressed outrage against the move to oust Powers, saying that he has done an excellent job leading the university.

 

July 8, 2014

The federal government’s annual list of the most expensive colleges in the country, released last week, incorrectly reported that Hult International Business School had the highest net price of any four-year private institution, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

A school official told the publication that Hult had erred in reporting its data to the government, incorrectly listing some graduate and international undergraduate tuition rates on a form where it was supposed to report such information for U.S. undergraduate students.

The school said that it did not enroll any undergraduates in the U.S. during the 2011-12 year that the list was supposed to cover.

A department spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. A spokeswoman did not immediately return an email from Inside Higher Ed on Monday evening.

July 8, 2014

Collective enrollments in American journalism schools and programs dropped in 2012 for the second straight year, the American Journalism Review reported. The article, which is based on an annual survey of journalism programs conducted by the University of Georgia, said that enrollment in the 485 participating journalism and mass communication programs fell by 2.9 percent in 2012 after a smaller drop, of 1.1 percent, the year before. Those dips followed several years of increases, which some observers saw as defying the headlines of an industry in disarray.

The study and the article note that the recent drops came at a time of enrollment increases for colleges and universities generally, and speculate that “the recent declines may have been triggered by negative publicity about layoffs in the news industry."

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