Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am

When the University of Tennessee at Knoxville advertised for a new baseball coach, the listings said that the institution preferred candidates with a bachelor's degree. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that the coach hired, Dave Serrano, has a degree, but from an unaccredited institution viewed by many as a diploma mill. "Obviously, sometimes you make choices in life and there's scrutiny out there," Serrano said. "I would prefer to be judged by the people and the players over all my years of my coaching career, what I've done for people as a coach and a mentor and how I've led them in life and being successful. People could judge my education, but I know when it comes to coaching and leading young men, I feel like I have a doctorate in that area." The News Sentinel noted that the university is currently searching for three assistant coaches, and that all three require a bachelor's degree and prefer a master's.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Blackboard, which last year announced a partnership to ease the use of McGraw-Hill content in courses using Blackboard's learning management system, is expanding the idea to other major publishers and their services. The company Wednesday announced partnerships with Pearson (for its MyLab and Mastering programs, which together are projected to have 9 million student registrations this year), as well as with Wiley, Macmillan and Cengage for various content offerings.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am
  • Raymond Barclay, senior associate at Arroyo Research Services, in North Carolina, has been named director of institutional research and planning at Stetson University, in Florida.
  • Connie Carmack, vice president for advancement at Chatham University, in Pennsylvania, has been selected as vice president for resource development at Roanoke College, in Virginia.
  • Jeremy Day-O'Connell, assistant professor of music at Knox College, in Illinois, has been promoted to associate professor of music there.
  • Sarah Day-O'Connell, assistant professor of music at Knox College, in Illinois, has been promoted to associate professor of music there.
  • Doug Falk, vice president of information technology and chief technology officer at the National Student Clearinghouse, in Virginia, has been named chief information officer there.
  • Sharon L. Fross, vice president for academic affairs at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, has been appointed as dean of the College for Graduate Studies and of the College for Continuing and Professional Studies at Chatham University, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Peter Meagher, associate dean of student and campus life at Reed College, in Oregon, has been selected as assistant dean of students/student conduct coodinator at Gustavus Adolphus College, in Minnesota.
  • Jim Milroy, assistant vice president for budget and financial analysis and government relations at the State University of New York at Geneseo, has been promoted to vice president for administration and finance there.
  • Jenna K. Templeton, director of online academic and support services at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, has been chosen as assistant dean of the College for Graduate Studies and of the College for Continuing and Professional Studies at Chatham University.
  • Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am

    WASHINGTON -- The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a subcommittee's bill that would increase spending on the National Science Foundation's research by $43 million with funds reallocated from the agency's education and equipment budgets. The legislation backed by the committee -- which will now go to the full House -- would keep the NSF's overall budget at $6.86 billion in 2012, flat from this year but $900 million less than President Obama requested. But the additional funds for research would come at the expense of a $26 million cut from the agency's education and human resources directorate and a $17 million shave from its research equipment and facilities fund. The bill would also

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am

    In today’s Academic Minute, the University of Texas at Austin's Timothy Rowe examines how the sense of smell contributed to the development of larger brains in early mammals and how modern technology is making such determinations possible. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:00am

    The University of Oxford says that there is no need -- in light of the scandal over the conduct of some of the publications owned by Rupert Murdoch -- to rethink endowed chairs and programs in his name or that of News International, Times Higher Education reported. Murdoch made a significant gift (exact size unknown) to Oxford, his alma mater, in 1990. The gift funds the Rupert Murdoch professor of language and communication, three lectureships, a News International Fund that makes various grants, and a News International visiting professor of media, and a program to provide internships to students interested in journalism. An Oxford spokesman told Times Higher Education: "Our full processes of scrutiny were carried out at the time of the endowment." Valentine Cunningham, professor of English language and literature at Oxford, said there was "only residual unhappiness" among academics over News International ties. "It is thought that we have turned bad money into good," Cunningham said.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    The California State University Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a salary of $400,000 for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, over the objections of Governor Jerry Brown, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The salary is $100,000 more than the previous president earned -- an increase that system officials said was justified to attract top talent. Faculty and student groups have criticized the pay plan, saying it is insensitive at a time that the university system is facing both budget cuts and tuition increases.

    In a letter released before the board vote, Governor Brown rejected the idea that the large increase in salary was needed. "The assumption is that you cannot find a qualified man or woman to lead the university unless paid twice that of the chief justice of the United States. I reject this notion," Governor Brown write. "At a time when the state is closing its courts, laying off public school teachers and shutting senior centers, it is not right to be raising the salaries of leaders who -- of necessity -- must demand sacrifice from everyone else."

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    Stanford's alumni magazine has published a new oral history of the "prison experiment" 40 years ago in which some students played the part of jailers and others prisoners, and the abuse of the latter by the former making the study one of the most discussed social science experiments of modern times. As a blog in The Wall Street Journal noted, some of the details may lead some to question how much the study revealed about human nature. For instance, one person who played a jailer said that he drew on acting experience to be intentionally mean. Another participant in the experiment said that he was high on drugs most of the time he was being studied.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    The full House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday endorsed a subcommittee's recommendation that Congress cut spending for the National Endowment for the Humanities (and the National Endowment for the Arts) in 2012. The subcommittee drafted legislation last week that would slash support for both agencies by nearly $20 million from their 2011 levels.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 3:00am

    A new paper from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment examines the role of measuring student learning outcomes at community colleges. Findings from surveys of community colleges show that they make extensive use of measures of student learning, but tend to do so at the program level rather than the institutional level (a finding that is probably not surprising, given the range of programs offered). For instance, 80 percent of community colleges reported using performance assessments other than grades (simulations, portfolios, capstone projects, etc.) to evaluate learning in individual units, but only 19 percent used those approaches across their institutions. And 83 percent reported using specialized tests (such as licensure exams and other standardized tests) for programs, but only 8 percent reported their use across institutions.

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