Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at Ocean County College are protesting a tenure denial they say was based on the professor involved living in another county, The Asbury Park Press reported. Maria Flynn, who was denied tenure despite outstanding reviews, said that she was told by President Jon H. Larson that he rejected her tenure bid because she lives elsewhere. Faculty leaders said that such a policy would violate college rules, and was inappropriate. Larson did not comment on whether he is considering residency in making tenure decisions.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 4:31am

President Obama has signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to work to support tribal colleges and universities. The executive order notes gaps in educational attainment between Native American and other students, and the role of tribal colleges in closing those gaps.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:17am

Authorities in Vancouver continue to investigate an incident in which a student meeting at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in British Columbia, was interrupted by people who released substances believed to be pepper spray, and some students needed medical assistance, The Vancouver Sun reported. The meeting was being held to oust the student government, and the chemicals were released just before a quorum was reached.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:22am

Israel's Council for Higher Education has passed a series of reform proposals designed to assure higher levels of competence in English by university graduates, Ynet News reported. The changes raise the scores required in English on entrance requirements and also require more instruction in English while enrolled at universities.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:28am

Cardiff University, in Wales, is running a "free tuition for life" contest being compared to the "golden tickets" offered by the fictional Willy Wonka or the competitions of allegedly real "reality" television shows. The university will be unveiling a series of challenges that need to be completed, leading to a live challenge at the university. The winner will not be charged tuition for any program for the rest of his or her life -- and can enroll in an unlimited number of undergraduate and multiple graduate degree programs. Applicants must be from Britain or other European Union countries.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Fans of the University of Connecticut and others are debating a new practice there of asking those attending home football and basketball games to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag before the traditional playing of the national anthem, The New York Times reported. While some see the pledge as a welcome sign of patriotism and unity, others question a public university asking people to say anything with the words "under God" and note concerns for international athletes.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

For-profit colleges have done a better job of being mindful about efficiency and effectiveness than their nonprofit peers, U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, who heads the House subcommittee on higher education, said during a panel discussion on Monday. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools hosted the event, which was on workforce training. Representative Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, also said the federal government has not scrutinized nonprofit colleges with the same vigor as for-profits, noting that "accountability hits the new kid on the block hardest."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Monica Ciobanu of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh examines the options newly formed governments have as they seek justice against deposed rulers. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.



Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Clayton Spencer -- a key figure in higher education policy setting -- was named Sunday as the next president of Bates College. Spencer is currently vice president for policy at Harvard University, and previously served as associate vice president for higher education policy there. From 1993 to 1997, she was the education counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, where she worked for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Spencer takes over as the president of a private liberal arts college at a time of increased national scrutiny of college costs -- including a White House meeting today. At a press briefing Sunday, she said that she anticipated working to raise more money for financial aid in part because she doesn't think colleges like Bates are going to become less expensive. As long as liberal arts colleges focus on providing a high quality education, with top faculty members, small classes and a full residential experience, she said, "I don't see a way to make that fundamentally, structurally less expensive." But she said that increasing financial aid is essential, given that the sticker prices at institutions like Bates (total costs exceed $55,000) would otherwise seem too high to many prospective students and families.


Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Erik Bleich of Middlebury College contrasts how Americans and Europeans value and protect freedom of speech. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.


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