The University of Toronto is moving ahead with controversial plans to replace real grass on some of its athletics fields with artificial turf. Numerous Canadian luminaries have been rallying against the plan, and some hoped they had found a way to block it: having the fields in question (complete with their real grass) be declared a "heritage landscape." The Globe and Mail reported that the plan didn't work, and that the City Council rejected the designation. The university maintained that artificial turf would help students, since the natural grass frequently becomes muddy. One City Council member criticized the way the issue had become so divisive and political. Denzil Minnan-Wong said the issue demonstrated “that anything good, any great program, policy, anything great in this city that the city touches turns to crap. We’ll turn any good news story into a controversy and a bad news story."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Gary Russi, president of Oakland University, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down. The Detroit Free Press noted that the announcement, which was a surprise, came the same day the university fired his wife, Beckie Francis, as women's basketball coach. Any connection between the two events was not immediately clear, the newspaper said.
- Lisa H. Conti, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Connecticut, has been appointed as assistant professor of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University, also in Connecticut.
- Joe Diaz, an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University and Marian University, has been selected as director of corporate learning and operations at Harrison College.
- Andrew Hermalyn, executive vice president for university relations at 2U, has been chosen as executive vice president and general manager of 2U's Semester Online.
- Irene Scruton, executive director of the Safety Council of Central and Western New York, has been named MBA Director at the State University of New York at Oswego.
- Michaele Whelan, vice provost for academic affairs at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, has been named vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College, also in Massachusetts.
Mel Williams Jr., associate deputy secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been appointed as senior associate dean for military and veterans initiatives at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
A large majority of Americans -- 76 percent -- oppose the consideration of race in college admissions decisions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, issued with the Supreme Court about to rule on the issue. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to favor the consideration of race, 28 percent to 12 percent. Among racial and ethnic groups, the highest level of support for consideration of race was by Hispanics (29 percent). By educational attainment, those with some postgraduate education were more likely than those with other levels to favor the consideration of race (28 percent).
The U.S. Department of Education plans this fall to begin a stand-alone round of negotiated rule making on "gainful employment" regulations, which would keep tabs on vocational programs at for-profit colleges and some nonprofit institutions. The department's plan to pursue a new set of regulations, not sure this is quite the right way to say it, since the previous regs aren't really reemerging. maybe "The department's plan to pursue a new set of regulations, given that a federal judge struck down the original version last year, is ..."***Yes. Fixed - PF given that a federal judge struck down the original version last year, is not a surprise. But in an announcement in the Federal Register this week, the Education Department said it planned to hold separate discussions on gainful employment this fall, rather than as part of a broader rule-making session that might also tackle fraud protection or state authorization of distance education.
The federal court ruled that the department had failed to adequately establish justification for the threshold it set for loan repayment rates. (The other standards dealt with debt-to-income ratios.) However, the judge said the department was on firm ground philosophically in its effort to regulate the return on investment of vocational programs. But the Obama administration appears to have chosen to take another run at crafting a new set of rules rather than trying to resuscitate the old ones in court. maybe "to take another run at crafting a new set of rules rather than trying to resuscitate the old ones in the courts."?***Changes made - PF
Gainful employment not sure how you're defining "first emerged," but by almost any measure this date is off. original rule making was in 2009 (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/12/10/employ), and it was fought out all through 2010. dl***Oops. Fixed with "long" tweak - PF was a long, bruising battle. For-profits and some Republican lawmakers had asked that a new debate over how to regulate vocational programs be folded into the renewal of the Higher Education Act, which is scheduled to expire this year. By pursuing a new round of rule making on gainful employment, the department appears to be continuing to focus primarily on for-profits maybe "By pursuing a new round of rule making over gainful employment, the Education Department appears to be continuing to focus primarily on for-profits,"?***done - pf, in contrast to proposed legislation that would scrutinize employment outcomes of higher education more broadly. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the sector's primary trade group, issued a written statement saying it was disappointed by the prospect of a "repeated, faulty and confrontational process" on gainful employment. The department will select members of the committee, which is slated to meet first in September.
Western International University, a for-profit institution owned by the Apollo Group, has slashed its tuition by 51 percent. The university's bachelor's degrees, which are aimed at working adults, will cost $30,400. Master's degrees will be $11,950. Western, which enrolls 2,500 students, is also offering a "test drive" in which the first two online courses will cost $200 each. Several for-profits have cut prices recently amid slumping enrollments, including ITT Technical Institute and Strayer University.
Princeton University reopened the campus Tuesday evening after evacuating for eight hours due to a bomb threat. A statement from the university said: "The university received a phone call from someone who said multiple bombs were placed throughout campus at unspecified locations. After determining that the threat was credible, university officials ordered the campus evacuated. Faculty and staff were sent home; students were told to go to public places in the town of Princeton, including the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Arts Council and the Nassau Inn.... Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in from law enforcement agencies and searched campus in a coordinated effort with university staff members. No explosive devices were found. The university takes all threats to the safety and well being of its community members and visitors seriously."
The University of New Hampshire also received and investigated a bomb threat Tuesday, but did not evacuate, and determined that the threat was a hoax.
The faculty athletics representative at the University of Richmond has circulated an e-mail to colleagues calling for the institution to leave Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to stop playing intercollegiate football, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. "I have come to the conclusion that it’s hard-to-impossible to consistently make DI-level sports conform and submit to the primary institutional focus on academics, because there’s just too much money and ambition involved," said the e-mail from Rick Mayes, an associate professor of political science. Noting concerns about the impact of concussions on football players, he asked whether it would not be better -- for the sake of athletes and to prevent future lawsuits -- to drop football. University administrators indicated that Richmond has no intention of taking the advice Mayes offered.DI and DIII in quotes are sic per article -sj
The foundation of San Francisco State University has agreed to not invest in companies "with significant production or use of coal and tar sands." Further the foundation will seek to limit investments in fossil fuel companies. Advocates for divestment of fossil fuel companies said that they viewed the move as significant. To date, colleges that have embraced divestment have been small, private colleges in the Northeast, while San Francisco State is the first Western or public institution to take such a stand. The foundation's endowment is in the range of $50 million.