Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 13, 2014

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has told Sojourner-Douglass College that is has until September 1 to show why it should not lose its accreditation, The Baltimore Sun reported. The accreditor cited high debt and questions about financial viability. College officials did not respond to requests for comment.

 

March 13, 2014

Marietta College, a private institution in Ohio, is eliminating 20 full-time positions to deal with a budget shortfall, The Marietta Times reported. College officials said that they needed to make cuts to be able to make investments needed to promote the college's long-term sustainability.

 

March 12, 2014

Florida Memorial University, Oakwood University and Wiley College on Tuesday announced the founding of the Center for Excellence in Distance Learning, a collaborative aimed at helping historically black colleges and universities create distance learning programs. The center will work with Lumen Learning, an open educational resources support provider. Housed at Wiley College, the center has created 40 courses using OER and has another 30 in development to be released this summer.

Haywood L. Strickland, president of Wiley College, acknowledged in a statement that HBCUs have been slow to adopt online education. “Distance learning creates inherent challenges for small colleges where the educational experience is grounded in personal relationships that cultivate scholarship and leadership among the students we serve," he said.

March 12, 2014

New research from the University of Manchester has found that members of some minority groups in Britain are more likely than white people in the country to have postsecondary degrees, Times Higher Education reported. The study found that 43 percent of those with Chinese heritage had a degree, as did 42 percent of those with Indian backgrounds and 40 percent of those from black African groups. Only about a quarter of white British people have a degree.

 

March 12, 2014

Adjunct organizers at Loyola Marymount University have withdrawn their petition for a union election from the National Labor Relations Board, delaying their union bid for at least another six months. Voting was to have started last month but was delayed once already, after organizers filed an unfair labor practice claim alleging that Loyola Marymount administrators were interfering in the process. As evidence, they cited a series of information meetings on unions hosted by their individual colleges (an email invitation to one was obtained by Inside Higher Ed). Emily Hallock, an adjunct professor of political science at Loyola Marymount and an organizer who attended one of the meetings, said the tone was intimidating and not conducive to “free and fair” elections, as mandated by the National Labor Relations Act.

Hallock also said administrative influence in the unionization process shrank the pool of willing witnesses for the NLRB investigation into unfair labor practices. So adjunct organizers withdrew both the complaint and the election petition to focus on more education and outreach efforts before the adjuncts apply for an election once more. They must wait at least six months, according to NLRB policy. A university spokesman said NLRB had begun investigating the interference charges "but did not present [Loyola] with any evidence to support them." He added: "The meetings were in the nature of town hall discussions; they were voluntary and, honestly, not widely attended."

Adjuncts at Loyola Marymount are trying to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. The union is organizing adjuncts across numerous metro areas. In Los Angeles, Whittier College adjuncts have voted to form a union affiliated with SEIU and University of LaVerne adjuncts have filed for an election. That also has been delayed due to an unfair labor practice claim.

March 12, 2014

Colby College may not be a March Madness contender. But this video makes the case that when it comes to creative cheers by the players on the bench, the Mules may have no rival.

 

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March 12, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Sina Rabbany, professor and director of bioengineering at Hofstra University, discusses new insights into how blood vessels acquire characteristics, and how they might be used to transform how we repair damaged organs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

March 12, 2014

Neil Theobald, president of Temple University, has pledged to review the decision not to renew the contract of Anthony Monteiro, a non-tenure track faculty member in African-American studies, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. Theobald made the pledge at a protest by 100 people, who said that the non-renewal reflected larger problems with Temple's relations with those who live in the area. Monteiro has taught at Temple for 10 years, on a year-to-year basis.

 

March 12, 2014

Betabrand, an online clothing store, has an unusual approach for models for its spring collection for women. All of the women in the ads have Ph.D.s or are doctoral candidates. Shoppers looking at the Del Ray Perfect Dress will find it modeled by a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, and those interested in the Gray Confetti Popover Shirt will find it modeled by a woman who earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Stanford University. (The models are identified only with first names and their degrees.) Betabrand's founder, Chris Lindland gave a statement to Adweek about the new strategy: "When you look beyond the ranks of the professionally beautiful, photography becomes a lot more fun. Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?"

March 12, 2014

Indiana officials are considering whether the state's March 10 deadline for applications for state student aid is too early, and discourages applications from those who may most need assistance, The Indianapolis Star reported. The deadline is earlier than those of most states and the deadline for seeking federal aid. Officials believe that up to half of the state residents who meet eligibility requirements don't apply. Many say that nontraditional students don't figure out their college plans until later in the year, and so are missing the chance at getting state aid. A flip side of this issue, however, is that if more students apply, and the state doesn't provide more aid, the size of grants could shrink.

 

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