Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 24, 2014

New research from Johns Hopkins University offers another reason to go to college: Higher education is associated with better recovery from traumatic brain injuries.

 

April 24, 2014

Adjunct professors at Seattle University who hope to organize in affiliation with the Service Employees International Union got the green light from their local National Labor Relations Board. The announcement didn’t come as a surprise to adjuncts there, who said the decision was similar to the board’s regional office ruling last year in favor of adjuncts who wish to form an SEIU-affiliated union at Pacific Lutheran University. Ballots from that subsequent union election have been impounded, however, as the national labor board weighs the university’s challenge to the ruling – namely that its religious affiliation puts it outside board jurisdiction. Michael Ng, an adjunct professor of languages and literature at both institutions, said organizers expect Seattle University to pose a similar challenge to the local board’s decision that a union runs “no significant risk of constitutional infringement” on the institution, which “lacks substantial religious character.” A university spokeswoman referred questions about the decision to previous statements made by Isiaah Crawford, provost, expressing concern about NLRB infringement on its religious identity. The university has until May 1 to appeal the decision. The union would include about 356 non-tenure-track faculty. A union vote date has not yet been announced.

April 23, 2014

Some students at Suffolk University are criticizing the selection of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, as commencement speaker, The Boston Globe reported. The students object to Foxman's refusal to back a push in Congress to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide. Others say he has defended the ethnic profiling of Muslims. Foxman could not be reached for comment. The university released a statement that said that “Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition.... It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”

April 23, 2014

American University officials are investigating a unrecognized campus "brotherhood" that has become the subject of debate because of leaked emails from members that appear to show them joking about raping or sexually assaulting women, The Washington Post reported. Cornelius M. Kerwin, president of the university, sent a message to the campus saying that the emails “not only conflict with our values and standards, but also may represent breaches of our student conduct code and of the law.” The website Jezebel published many of the emails.

April 23, 2014

Community college students who earn an associate degree before transferring to a four-year institution are more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their peers who transfer without one, according to new research from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. After controlling for background characteristics, the study found that transfer students with associate degrees were 49 percent more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within four years, and 22 percent more likely to earn one within six years.

April 23, 2014

A month after The Boston Globe reported on bullying allegations against Kelly Greenberg, the head women's basketball coach, she is resigning. The university conducted a review of the allegations, failing to confirm some of them, but still finding problems. At least four players quit the team in the last year, the university said. BU released a statement from Todd Klipp, senior vice president and senior counsel, in which he said that “a compelling case was made, based on interviews with the team as a whole, that the manner in which Coach Greenberg interacted with many of her players was incompatible with the expectations and standards for university employees, including our coaches.” Klipp added that “when we shared these conclusions with Coach Greenberg, she determined that it would not be possible for her to continue coaching at Boston University.”

The university statement also included this comment from Greenberg: “I do not agree with some of the findings of the review panel regarding my coaching style, which was intended to produce well-rounded athletes and a winning team. However, given all that has transpired, I do not believe that it will be possible for me to continue as an effective coach at Boston University.”

April 23, 2014

Mesa, Ariz., attracted considerable attention in academic circles by recruiting established colleges from the East and Midwest to set up branches there. On Tuesday, Westminster College, in Missouri, announced that it is shutting down its operations after only one academic year. "Demand did not meet the student numbers necessary to sustain Mesa operations as quickly as we had anticipated, and it is not financially prudent for our college to proceed," said a statement from Westminster. The college said it would try to help students find new ways to continue their educations.

April 23, 2014

Faculty and student groups are criticizing the leadership of Debra Townsley, president of William Peace University, The News & Observer reported. A letter sent by faculty members to the board cited problems such as "staff turnover, dropping graduation rates, unsecured student records and university buildings with malfunctioning heat, asbestos problems and infestations of poisonous spiders." The letter said: “Peace has become an institution driven by mediocrity, suspicion, and fear, a university desperate for tuition dollars but entirely unwilling to provide students with the support and encouragement they need to complete their degrees." And students who circulated a petition criticizing Townsley now say they are facing retaliatory disciplinary proceedings.

Townsley defended her record, noting that William Peace, like many small colleges, is undergoing change and that such transitions are difficult. Townsley led a controversial shift under which the former women's college started to admit men.

 

 

April 23, 2014

A new analysis of available jobs finds that the highest demand (among openings for college graduates) is for white-collar professional occupations (33 percent) and science and technology occupations (28 percent). The analysis -- by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce -- is consistent with that center's past research, in finding many more opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree than for those without a college degree.

The new study is based on online job advertisements. The most in-demand professional jobs are accountants/auditors and medical/health service managers. In STEM, the most in-demand jobs are for applications software developers and computer systems analysts.

April 23, 2014

James Kilgore, who has earned good reviews as a lecturer in global studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was told his contract would not be renewed this year, shortly after it became widely known that he had once been a fugitive and had later served jail time for his role in the Symbionese Liberation Army, The News-Gazette reported. That same newspaper reported on his past associations in February, prompting local discussion. The SLA is the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst and robbed banks in the 1970s. Kilgore and the university declined to comment on the situation. The American Association of University Professors sent a letter to the Phyllis Wise, chancellor at Illinois, raising concerns about why Kilgore would not be renewed. The AAUP is "troubled" by the "sequence of events" in which someone was receiving good reviews, with the expectation of continued employment, only to have that change after publicity over his past. The AAUP letter states that Kilgore disclosed his felony conviction and six-plus years in prison when he was hired.

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