Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 7, 2014

The Thunderbird School of Global Management has signed a letter of intent to become a part of Arizona State University, the university announced Thursday. Thunderbird is a freestanding, well-respected private business school, but it has struggled financially in recent years and has been looking to become part of a larger institution. In April, amid criticism from some alumni and objections from its accreditor, Thunderbird and the for-profit higher education company Laureate announced that they were ending talks about an affiliation. Some of the criticism of the proposed deal focused on Laureate's for-profit status.

Thunderbird would remain an independent unit of Arizona State (which has a business school) under the plan being discussed. Current Thunderbird students would be able to finish their current degree programs. The Arizona State statement said changes would also take place at Thunderbird. "As part of the work underway under the letter of intent, Thunderbird and ASU will work to restructure the form that the faculty and staff operations would take as a unit of ASU. Personnel reductions are likely to result, with the goal of making the new Thunderbird school self-sustaining within ASU so that no current or new state appropriations or existing tuition will be required. The nature and scale of the reductions are still being studied," the statement said. When the merger is complete, tuition rates (in-state and out of state) would be set by Arizona Board of Regents rules.

Will Counts, executive director of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association, which led opposition to the Laureate plan, issued this statement: "The Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association was surprised at the recent announcement and that the alumni had to first find out about the merger through the media rather than from our alma mater. We have a great deal of respect for ASU, their recent success and wish to remain optimistic. Before we comment on the merits of the ASU-Thunderbird integration we are going to have to see more details about the structure of this transaction. Based on the articles presented thus far, it is even more important to have an independent alumni association going forward."

July 7, 2014

Breanne Fahs, associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, has an unusual way to teaching students about defying gender-specific norms. She offers extra credit to all female students who opt not to shave any body hair below the neck, and to male students who shave all of their body hair below the neck. Students must shave (or not shave) throughout a 10-week period and keep a journal related to their experiences. “There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” said Fahs in an Arizona State article about her teaching technique. “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.” Some of the Arizona State students may be seen in the photograph below.

four students posing on campus

 

 

July 7, 2014

Time for our monthly Cartoon Caption Contest.

Click here to suggest a creative caption for this month's cartoon.

In the crowdsourcing segment of our contest, please cast your vote for your favorite among the nominations chosen by our panel of judges for our June caption -- you can do that here.

And congratulations to Stephen Klien, who won our Cartoon Caption Contest for May. Klien, a professor in the communication studies department at Illinois's Augustana College. Find out more about him and his winning entry here.

July 7, 2014

Hillary Clinton, a likely presidential candidate, has been under fire for the high speaking fees ($200,000 is the norm) paid by the institutions where she speaks. On Friday, she told ABC News that she has given all fees from colleges for the last 18 months to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

July 7, 2014

Cheyney University on Thursday announced that Michelle R. Howard-Vital was retiring as president, and that an acting president will start on Monday. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the announcement followed discussions between Howard-Vital and Frank T. Brogan, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, although system officials did not confirm that. Cheyney, a historically black college, has struggled with deficits and stagnant enrollment. In recent years, enrollment has been around 1,200, down from 3,000 in the 1970s.

July 7, 2014

An investigation of Doug Wojcik, the men's basketball coach at the College of Charleston, found that he engaged in bullying behavior, berating players with obscenities and physical threats, The Post and Courier reported. The college has said it is studying the report amid calls for Wojcik's dismissal.

The coach gave this statement to the newspaper: "I'm sincerely remorseful and apologize to those I've hurt. I've already started making amends and working on correcting my actions. The college and I are grateful these concerns were brought to our attention, and every effort will be made to improve relations between myself and members of the men's basketball program."

July 7, 2014

Paul Roof will be back in the classroom in the fall. Charleston Southern University fired Roof in June after his photograph appeared on a beer can for a fund-raiser. His dismissal outraged many students and alumni. The College of Charleston has now hired Roof, who will be an adjunct teaching five courses this fall in the anthropology and sociology department, The Post and Courier reported.

July 7, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Jason Kalirai, associate researcher at the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, discusses the deepest of deep space studies. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

July 3, 2014

Facing criticism that parts of its fight song lyrics are sexist, the University of Utah on Wednesday announced changes that will remove the implication that the perspective is a male one. The line “our coeds are the fairest” will be replaced with “our students are the finest” and the line “no other gang of college men” will now be “no rival band of college fans." A further complication is that the song has been called "A Utah Man." From now on it will be called "A Utah Man/Fan." The university, mindful that loyal alumni sometimes object to changes in tradition, created a webpage noting that the song has already changed many times in its history. And David Pershing, president of the university, issued a statement in which he said that the new lyrics were a suggestion, not mandatory. “When printed officially by the university, this 2014 version of the fight song will be used, but historical renditions of the song will always be acceptable," Pershing said. "We encourage you to sing – loudly and with pride – whichever version resonates with you.”

 

July 3, 2014

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, the nation's largest, is getting smaller. Cooley has four campuses in Michigan and one in Florida. A statement on the Cooley website says -- without providing much detail -- that the law school is retrenching through, among other things, faculty and staff reductions. But Above the Law (and then others) reported on a memo (not on the public portion of the Cooley website) stating that it would not admit new students to its Ann Arbor campus this fall. Current students at the Ann Arbor campus will be able to continue there.

 

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