Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 5, 2013

Connecticut's Manchester Community College has decided to end its three remaining sports programs, citing a desire to use the program's $370,000 annual costs for other purposes given its limited resources, the Hartford Courant reported. Manchester's decision, which President Gena Glickman said she made reluctantly given that athletics is an important "access point" for students who tend to graduate at a high rate, will leave Gateway Community College as the only two-year institution in the state with a sports program, down from nine two decades ago, the Courant said.

March 4, 2013

The board of the University of Virginia is once again taking steps that raise questions about micromanaging and undercutting President Teresa Sullivan, The Washington Post reported. The board and Sullivan recently exchanged drafts about the goals on which her performance will be evaluated. Helen Dragas, a board member who last year engineered the aborted move to oust Sullivan, gave Sullivan a highly detailed list of 65 goals. Sullivan responded by noting that university presidents typically receive broad goals from their boards, not detailed lists. Sullivan also responded -- according to e-mail messages the Post obtained -- by noting that 22 of Dragas's goals had not previously been discussed, that several required board action, and that one “requires me to do something that the General Counsel tells me I am not legally authorized to do.”

March 4, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Kristin Bluemel of Monmouth University explains the appeal of early 20th-century books illustrated by female engravers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


March 4, 2013

The chair of architecture at the University of Utah, Prescott Muir, has agreed to stay on, reversing his decision to leave the position, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Muir's departure was widely blamed by students and faculty members on Brenda Case Scheer, dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at Utah. She issued an apology for making decisions about Muir "without full information," and that apology cleared the way for Muir to stay on.

March 4, 2013

William Stewart has resigned as a trustee of Southwestern College, a community college in California, saying that the administration was not providing accurate information to trustees or the faculty union with which it is negotiating. The college's student newspaper, The Sun, published the resignation letter, in which Stewart said that "without information, without all information, oversight is a sham." Stewart is a philosophy professor at San Diego City College. A spokeswoman for Southwestern told NBC 7 San Diego that "we would have to respectfully disagree with" Stewart's statement. "We've been providing all the budget information the board and the union has asked for. We're just sorry he chose to resign."

March 4, 2013

Colleges have long been known for sale of T-shirts, coffee mugs and so forth. The latest item for sale, reported The New York Times, is beef. Washington State University is selling premium beef for $9.50 a pound, enough to cover costs and also make up for state budget cuts.

March 4, 2013

A few hours before President Obama signed an order officially instating across-the-board spending cuts Friday night, the U.S. Education Department issued guidance on what the automatic budget cuts would mean for federal financial aid programs. The Pell Grant is exempt from the mandatory cuts in 2013. But loan origination fees will increase immediately for new loans, by about 0.05 percentage points on subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, from 1 percent to 1.05 percent, and by about 0.2 percentage points, from 4 percent to 4.2 percent, on Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS loans. The first disbursements of some grants — the TEACH Grant and Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant — are also subject to cuts.

Funding will be reduced for the federal work-study program and for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant beginning in the fall if sequestration remains in effect.

March 4, 2013

Presidents of many of Colorado's four-year universities sent a letter last month in which they urged legislators to oppose a bill that would allow the state's community colleges to offer bachelor's degrees in a select number of fields, The Denver Post reported. The presidents, signed by the leaders of the University of Colorado and Colorado State University Systems, among others, argued that the new degrees would create overlap in institutional missions and strain already limited state funding, the newspaper reported.

Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System, cited significant unmet demand in fields such as dental hygiene and culinary arts and said that the state's higher education commission would have to approve any new degree programs, ensuring that there was not overlap, the Post said.

March 4, 2013

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Friday that it has cited Saint Mary’s College of California with a failure to monitor its men’s basketball program after a head coach was found to have knowledge of a former assistant coach providing impermissible benefits to recruits. The benefits, mostly centered on an international prospect, included travel, local transportation and the arrangement of host family accommodations, the public infractions report said. The assistant coach also provided private financial information to a second international prospect who was trying to get a student visa. The NCAA Committee on Infractions said the head coach was aware of the team’s impermissible training from non-college employees and some of the recruiting violations and ignored “red flags” that should have prompted “heightened vigilance,” such as the assistant coach’s previous dismissal from a two-year college because of improprieties.

The head coach, Randy Bennett, was also charged with failure to monitor and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and the former assistant coach was charged with unethical conduct.

Penalties for Saint Mary’s include public reprimand and censure; four years’ probation beginning March 1; a five-game suspension for the head coach during the 2013-14 season; a prohibition of off-campus recruiting for the head coach during next season; a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach, meaning that any college that wants to hire him must make its case to the NCAA; reduction of team scholarships from 13 to 11 for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons; elimination of foreign tours by the team until the 2017-18 season; prohibition on multiple-team events until the 2015-16 season; and prohibition on skill instruction during the 2013-14 season, meaning no coaches may be present during training.

March 1, 2013

Rumors abound in Russia that many top leaders have degrees that they didn't really earn, but some officials are starting to tackle the issue of plagiarism. Time reported that the deputy minister of education and science reviewed 25 dissertations at random from the history department at Moscow Pedagogical State University. With one exception, all were found to be extensively plagiarized, with some having as much as 90 percent of the material copied.



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