Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 30, 2013

Many colleges and universities are setting new limits on adjunct hours, seeking to keep the part-time faculty members from being covered by the new federal health-care law. On Monday, the adjunct union at Kalamazoo Valley Community College challenged such a limit, filing a grievance with Michigan officials saying that the new policy violated the union's contract, MLive reported. The union called the limit a "unilateral change" in its contract, and said that the college had an obligation to negotiate over that type of change. A college vice president declined to comment on the complaint, saying that administrators had not yet had time to review it.

 

April 30, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Heath Brown of Seton Hall University explores how some minority-serving organizations work to encourage voting. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 30, 2013

George Wasson on Monday resigned as president of the Meramec campus of the St. Louis Community College, effective immediately, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The college has been under intense criticism for its handling of an assault on a female student. The alleged attacker -- who has since been arrested -- was originally released with just a verbal warning, infuriating not only the victim and her family, but many others on the campus.

 

April 30, 2013

Boston University -- still recovering from the death of one of its students in the bombings at the Boston Marathon -- is facing another tragedy. A senior at the university was killed in a fire off campus early Sunday. Nine other residents of the building (including two other Boston University students) were injured.

April 30, 2013

President Obama used a speech Monday at the 150th anniversary meeting of the National Academy of Sciences to pledge that he would continue to push for research funding. "[A]s long as I’m president, we’re going to continue to be committed to investing in the promising ideas that are generated from you and your institutions, because they lead to innovative products, they help boost our economy, but also because that’s who we are.  I’m committed to it because that’s what makes us special and ultimately what makes life worth living," he said.

Further, at a time that Republicans in Congress are questioning the validity of peer review decisions, Obama expressed strong support for peer review. "[W]e’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars.  And I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process.  That’s what’s going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come," the president said.

While a number of presidents have addressed the annual gathering of the academy, President Obama is the first to speak more than once at these meetings. He previously addressed the scientists in 2009.

 

April 29, 2013

The University of New South Wales has announced that it will accept scores from the gaokao, China’s national college entry examination, for direct admission to many of its undergraduate programs, The Australian reported. While the gaokao is commonly criticized for emphasizing rote learning, a 2009 Australian Education International report found that the use of gaokao cut-off scores in admissions could “produce students with outstanding ability.” Several other Australian universities, including La Trobe and Monash Universities and the Universities of Adelaide and Sydney, also accept gaokao scores for direct admission.

April 29, 2013

WASHINGTON -- While the Pell Grant is exempt from the mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect in March, other federal higher education grants are not. Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants, for the children of members of the military killed in action, have been cut back by 10 percent for new recipients beginning March 1, the Education Department announced in guidance issued Friday. TEACH Grants, for students planning to become teachers in high-need areas, have been reduced by 7.1 percent.

April 29, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Steve Yetiv of Old Dominion University explains why U.S. foreign policy is closely tied to foreign and domestic oil production. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 29, 2013

Jim Geddes, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, is calling on liberal arts departments at the flagship campus at Boulder to hire more professors who are conservatives, The Daily Camera reported. Boulder has long been seen as a liberal campus, and the university recently filled a new visiting position in conservative thought. But Geddes said that more action is needed. "If I were sending one of my children off to college, I'd tell them I want you to go to a university where you are going to hear smart intellectuals on both sides of issues so you can learn for yourself and form your own opinions," Geddes said. "I wouldn't be in favor of sending my child to a purely conservative university. They've already had that course their whole life living with me." He said that departments that lack conservatives should seek them out and hire them.

 

April 29, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service last week released a report documenting its findings from a series of audits it conducted stemming from a broad, six-year review of tax compliance at hundreds of colleges. The report contained relatively few surprises, given that the revenue service had previewed its conclusions in previous analyses at earlier stages of its comprehensive review. The major findings of the Colleges and Universities Compliance Project Final Report focused, among other things, on colleges' improperly unrelated business income losses from activities that did not qualify because the agency determined that they had not been conducted with the purpose of making a profit.

 

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