Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 19, 2013

As part of its orientation events, Ball State University picked a freshman at random and gave him the chance -- by hitting a half-court basketball shot -- of winning a semester's free tuition. Markus Burden stunned his fellow students by hitting the shot. And since he's from out of state, the free semester's tuition is worth $11,084. The Indianapolis Star has the details.

 

 

August 19, 2013

A new study by HSBC compares what international students pay, in U.S. dollar equivalents, at the largest institutions in various countries. Using this method, Australia is the most expensive, with an average cost (including living expenses) of $38,516. The U.S. is the second most expensive, at $35,705, followed by Britain at $30,325. Of the countries examined, Germany was the least expensive, at $6,285.

 

August 19, 2013

Three officials have been removed from their positions at St. Louis Community College's Meramec campus after a report faulted the college's handling of an assault on campus, and in particular to release of the man accused of the assault, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The man's release "resulted in an unnecessary threat to the campus from an individual who should have remained in custody rather than being allowed to roam free after the commission of a major felony,” the report said. It found  "a lack in leadership and management from key personnel at the district and campus levels."
 

August 19, 2013

Evan Dobelle, who left the University of Hawaii's presidency amid criticism of his spending decisions, is facing questions about his expenses as president of Westfield State University, The Boston Globe reported. Westfield State's foundation closed his credit card account -- intended for modest expenses to help him raise money -- after he charged $8,000 for a four-night stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok and $883 in clothing at the men's clothing store Louis Boston. Other expenses receiving scrutiny were charged to the credit card of Dobelle's assistant. During 68 months as president, the Globe reported, Dobelle has traveled out of state 76 times. Sometimes, those trips combined university business and pleasure. For instance, he flew to San Francisco for the university and then went to Bohemian Grove, the male-only retreat that is popular among moguls.

Dobelle has acknowledged some mistakes in spending, but he has argued that many of the charges were designed to raise the profile of Westfield State and to attract either donors, or attention, or international students. He said, for example, that he would not have impressed Thai educators by staying someplace more modest than the Mandarin Oriental. He noted many projects that are booming at Westfield State, which he said is now "the hottest college in New England."

 

August 19, 2013

Dartmouth College is debating an appropriate response to a fraternity's "Bloods and Crips Party," at which the names of those gangs were the kickoff for a "ghetto" party at which participants (overwhelmingly white) mocked ghetto life in racial ways, The Boston Globe reported. College officials said that they were working with Greek leaders so that theme parties in the future would reflect "the Greek community’s commitment to hosting inclusive events." The party took place two weeks ago but the controversy didn't grow until campus blogs published invitations and information about the event in the last week. One blog, Big Green Micro-Agressions, noted that Dartmouth has been debating offensively themed fraternity parties for years. The blog featured a 1998 New York Times article about a ghetto party at at Dartmouth fraternity. In the article, a Dartmouth student from New York City was quoted as saying: " 'I live in a ghetto... For Dartmouth students in general to mock a situation that I was lucky enough to get out of by the grace of God just seems to me very snotty and very ignorant, because my next-door neighbor couldn't dream of being here right now. The party touched a nerve in me.' ”

August 19, 2013

Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association are considering a new affiliation in which the university would oversee alumni outreach that is now managed by the association, but there are tensions about the idea, The Waco Tribune reported. A key issue for many alumni is the independence of The Baylor Line, the alumni magazine, which has been a forum in which sometimes-frank criticism of the university has been published.

 

August 19, 2013

Southern University in Baton Rouge eliminated the job of Dong Sheng Guo, a physics professor, in early 2012, as part of a round of budget cuts, but he went on teaching the fall of that year, and the following semester as well, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported. Guo says that he was never formally notified of his dismissal and only became aware that his job had been eliminated when he went to the human resources office to ask why he was not being paid. It is unclear how he was assigned class sections when the university believed his position had been eliminated. Guo is now appealing for his job back.

 

August 16, 2013

Jenny Sanford, who became nationally known when her then-husband and the then-governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, admitted to cheating on her, is interested in becoming president of the College of Charleston, The Post and Courier reported. The current president, George Benson, is stepping down next year. Sanford has never worked in academe, but she said that she has relevant skills from running her former husband's campaigns and following higher education issues when he was governor. She said higher education is in a period of "transformational change."

 

August 16, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Stephen Mucher of Bard College explains the motivations behind the first teacher observations of the 19th century. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 16, 2013

A professor of English at the Virginia Military Institute is on paid leave indefinitely, following his refusal to work or quit, the Roanoke Times reported.

Kurt Ayau was one of seven professors who took issue last year with department leaders and affairs, including a new curriculum. Six have resigned or retired, but Ayau said the institute offered him a leave of absence for what he understood to be one year, and he took it to support himself as he looks for another job, according to the Times.

An institute spokesman said Ayau was on paid leave, but that the timeline was undetermined. Ayau’s salary is $59,642. The spokesman declined to comment on why Ayau was offered a leave of absence, citing personnel reasons. The institute’s Faculty Handbook says that extended leaves may be granted when “in the best interests of the faculty member and the Institute.”

Ayau did not return an e-mailed request for comment.

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