Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, June 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Washington State's ethics board plans to fine a former professor at Evergreen State College nearly $120,000 for allegedly misappropriating payments that students made to participate on a study abroad trip in Chile, The Olympian reported. The former instructor, Jorge Gilbert, was placed on leave in 2009 and eventually resigned amid an investigation by the state auditor into charges that Gilbert could not account for up to $50,000 in fees paid by students. According to the newspaper, the penalty to be imposed by the Executive Ethics Board today will require him to make restitution to the students and pay fines for multiple violations of state ethics laws.

Friday, June 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department published a final version Thursday of its controversial rules requiring vocational programs to prove that they are preparing graduates for "gainful employment." And while advocates for the colleges, Wall Street analysts, consumer advocates and members of Congress weighed in with widely varying interpretations of the wisdom and the likely impact of the regulations, nothing spoke louder than the reaction of Wall Street investors. Driven by the widespread sense of investor analysts and for-profit critics alike that the rules had been softened considerably from an earlier version, stocks of the 13 publicly traded higher education companies tracked by Bloomberg rose by 12 percent, the sharpest upturn since 2005, The Los Angeles Times reported. For a guide to the new rules, see this related article.

Friday, June 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Michigan is ending a longstanding practice that has resulted in scores of people being "banned for life" from its campus, the Detroit Free Press reported. The newspaper said that under pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, the university would no longer give its police department broad discretion to ban people from campus for life for things such as vandalizing property. (The ACLU had charged that some people were barred for criticizing the university.) Under the new policy, the Free Press reported, the police chief can impose a one-year ban, then can let it lapse or extend it for a year.

Friday, June 3, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Stonehill College's Ron Leone discusses the process of ratings creep and the increasing level of violence in popular films. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The University and College Union, the main faculty union in Britain, has again (kind of) endorsed a boycott of Israel. Past endorsements of boycotts have been widely criticized by academics (including those who criticize Israel's policies) as antithetical to academic freedom. Some have also said that the union lacks the legal authority in Britain to call for a boycott. A spokesman for the union said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that it would be incorrect to say that the union had called for a boycott. The actual resolution calls on the union to "circulate to all members" the call for a boycott by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, but does not actually call for a boycott. A statement from Academic Friends of Israel scoffed at the distinction between calling for a boycott and distributing a call for a boycott. “If UCU distributes copies of the Palestinian boycott call to its members ... it is effectively asking them to participate in the boycott," said a statement from the group.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Molly Easo Smith has resigned as president of Manhattanville College, after two years in office, The Journal News reported. A statement Wednesday, announcing her resignation on Tuesday, said that she had achieved many of the goals that had been set when she was hired. But she has also seen several controversies, including protests last year over the resignations of two popular administrators.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Pennsylvania State University's Judith Kroll offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the bilingual mind. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 3:00am

West Virginia University sent 15,000 people a message -- intended for only 688 -- telling them that they were no longer eligible for various financial aid programs, The State Journal reported. The university is not sure how many of the 15,000 people actually received the message, since some are former students who wouldn't have had cause for alarm, but the university sent out a correction and apologized for the confusion.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 3:00am

When Richard McCormick announced this week that he is retiring from the presidency of Rutgers University, he spoke of his excitement about returning to a faculty position in history. The Star-Ledger reported he is assured by his contract that his salary as a faculty member will be $335,000, not exactly a standard history professor's pay. That's because his presidential contract contains a provision stating that, should McCormick ever return to teaching at Rutgers, his salary could be "no less" than that of the highest paid faculty member in the system. The new salary, however, will be less than his current one as president, $550,000.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Enrollment in Reserve Officers Training Corps participation is up 27 percent over the last four years, The Los Angeles Times reported. The decisions of several elite colleges to restore ROTC units, in the wake of the Congressional vote requiring the end of military discrimination against gay people, have attracted widespread attention, but most of those units are expected to be small. Nationally, students are attracted to ROTC by the lucrative scholarships, and do not appear deterred by ongoing military actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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