Higher Education Quick Takes
The DePauw University visiting journalism professor who used a student's arrest records to teach a lesson about public documents won't be sanctioned, the professor, Mark Tatge, said in a statement Wednesday. Students had complained after Tatge gave his class information on an athlete's arrest on suspicion of resisting arrest, public drunkenness and being a minor in possession of alcohol. The information was all publicly available. In a statement released to Inside Higher Ed on Wednesday, Tatge said he had "learned some things" from the process but maintained that his lesson was legitimate and not mean-spirited.
"I in no way meant to call attention to or to embarrass anyone," he wrote. "My goal here was merely to teach students about public records and make them better critical thinkers by using actual records filed in a public, open Indiana court."
He was also critical of the university's handling of the situation. "I feel the university did a poor job of communicating the intentions and procedures behind its review process to the media," he wrote. "I am committed to working with officials here in hope this kind of situation can be avoided in the future so another DePauw professor does not witness this same kind of communication breakdown."
Cliopatria -- a group blog about history (broadly defined) -- is shutting down after more than 8 years of almost daily publication. Led by Ralph Luker, the blog attracted many historian/writers over the years who are web personalities, people like KC Johnson, Hugo Schwyzer, Claire Potter, Sean Wilentz and many others (including Inside Higher Ed columnist Scott McLemee). The blog was hosted by the History News Network.
Florida State University has agreed to pay $75,000 each to two blind students who sued the institution, charging that it was using instructional materials that had not been made available in forms they could use. The university denied wrongdoing but agreed to examine various technology tools to make sure they are made accessible to all.
Israel's Council for Higher Education has approved the nation's first plan to encourage universities to hire more women as faculty members, Haaretz reported. Women are well-represented in the student ranks and the junior faculty slots, but only 15 percent of full professors are women. The plan calls on universities to develop family-friendly policies, to appoint advisers to help presidents develop strategies for recruiting and to keep better data on the status of women in academe.
Two Texas universities reported Tuesday that, working with community colleges, they can offer degrees that cost only $10,000 over four years, The Texas Tribune reported. Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, set that goal, whose feasibility was questioned by many educators. But Texas A&M at San Antonio is about to offer a bachelor's in information technology with an emphasis on cyber security that will cost about $9,700. And Texas A&M at Commerce will soon offer a bachelor's of applied science in organizational leadership for under $10,000.
Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, announced Tuesday that he will retire in September. Scott's career has mixed academe and politics. He has been president of Pasadena City College and Cypress College, and was an influential legislator on education issues during terms in California's Assembly and Senate. Scott became chancellor in 2009, and served in the role during a time of huge budget cuts and increased enrollment demands. California's community college system is highly decentralized, and Scott both pushed for more funds and for reforms that he said were needed in light of dwindling dollars.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began accepting complaints is there a link to add in case people want to check out the process? dl about private student loans Monday, a first step the agency is taking in regulating the private student lending market. The bureau is the sole agency regulating complaints about these loans, and is also preparing a report on the private lending market"agency"? or should this be "market" or something? dl based on interviews with students, parents, college administrators and others, to be presented to Congress this summer. Before the agency, borrowers with complaints about their loans had to find a bank's regulator in order to lodge a complaint, which was effectively impossible, Rohit Chopra, the bureau's student loan ombudsman, said at a National Association of missing "Student" in name here ... dl Student Financial Aid Administrators forum on Monday.
The bureau is also investigating why students borrow the way they do -- including why they don't max out federal loan limits before turning to credit cards, second mortgages and other financial instruments, Chopra said.
The outstanding balance on student loans has now hit $870 billion, more than the total credit card balance ($693 billion) and the total car loan balance ($730 billion), according to a report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rise in student loan debt is hardly a new trend, but the report documents the extent of the debt and the impact it has not only on borrowers, but their families. The report notes that "unlike other types of household debt such as credit cards and auto loans, the student loan market is incredibly complex. Numerous players and institutions hold stakes at each level of the market, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, financial institutions, students and their families, and numerous servicers and guarantee facilitators."