Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 29, 2014

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday announced revisions to its policies to handling sexual assaults, The News & Observer reported. Under the new policies, a trained university investigator will handle complaints, and that investigator's findings can be appealed to a panel of faculty and staff members. In 2012, under intense criticism for its handling of sexual assault accusations, the university stripped a student honor court of the power to adjudicate them. The new policy also defines consent, saying that it must be affirmed by both parties in a positive way. Further, the policy says that those who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs are unable to give consent.

 

August 29, 2014

A state audit has criticized the University of Connecticut for spending $902,000 on financial management software from Kuali that the institution didn't even use. Between 2009 and 2012, the university paid service provider SciQuest three annual licensing fees, even though it would take until the summer of 2012 before the system was up and running. The audit also criticized the university for entering into a $10.1 million contract with SciQuest without first completing a formal selection process. The news was first reported by The Hartfort Courant.

August 29, 2014

The philosophy department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has voted no confidence in Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other university leaders, The News-Gazette reported. The vote is based on the recent decision by Wise to block the appointment of Steven Salaita to a position in the American Indian studies program. The resolution states that "the recent words and actions of Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter, and the Board of Trustees in connection with the revocation of an offer of employment to Dr. Steven Salaita betray a culpable disregard not only for academic freedom and free speech generally but also for the principles of shared governance and established protocols for hiring, tenure, and promotion."

August 29, 2014

The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern announced his resignation Thursday, according to the Havre Daily News.

Chancellor James Limbaugh was facing faculty criticism, including a movement to take a no-confidence vote in his leadership.

The campus has faced several bits of turmoil, including issues with its nursing program and a former provost who is accused of repeatedly and inappropriately touching her male colleagues – including Limbaugh.

August 29, 2014

Female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones, and male students spend about eight hours on them, according to a new study in The Journal of Behavioral Addictions. One of the researchers, James Roberts, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, said the results were "astounding." He said that 'as cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility.”

August 29, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Robert Latzman, a Georgia State university psychologist, delves into the individual personalities and neurobiology of chimpanzees. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 28, 2014

Education Management Corporation, a large, publicly traded for-profit chain, announced on Wednesday that it had brokered a financial restructuring agreement with creditors that own 80 percent of the company's debt. In a written statement the company said the restructuring would reduce its funded debt by an estimated $1.1 billion.

August 28, 2014

The National Association for College Admission Counseling has released draft proposed additions to its Statement of Principles of Good Practice that would expand on last year’s change permitting member universities to use commission-based agents in international student recruiting if they ensure accountability, integrity and transparency. The proposed additions, to be considered by the NACAC Assembly at the annual conference in late September, would flesh out those terms. Specifically the proposed interpretative language states that members will

• “ensure institutional accountability by monitoring the actions of those commission-based agents acting on the institution’s behalf;”

• “ensure transparency with a conspicuous statement on their website that indicates their institution uses agents who are compensated on a per capita basis;"

• “ensure integrity by dealing ethically and impartially with applicants and other stakeholders, honoring commitments and acting in a manner that respects the trust and confidence placed in the institutions and the individuals representing them;"

• “adhere to U.S. recruitment and remuneration laws (U.S. Higher Education Act) for U.S. citizens, where applicable;”

• “not contract with secondary school personnel for remunerations for referred students.”

The proposed language also would frame the use of agents in more negative terms. While the language approved by the NACAC Assembly last year reads that “Members who choose to use incentive-based agents when recruiting students outside the U.S. will ensure accountability, transparency and integrity,” a proposed revised version of that sentence would state that members will “not employ agents who are compensated on a per capita basis when recruiting students outside the United States, unless ensuring they and their agents conduct themselves with accountability, transparency, and integrity.”

 

August 28, 2014

Suffolk University on Wednesday replaced President James McCarthy, who had been in office since 2012, The Boston Globe reported. Few details were provided about why the change was made. Norman R. Smith, former president of Wagner College, was named interim president.

August 28, 2014

The California community college system on Wednesday announced a goal to produce 227,247 more certificates, degrees and transfer students in its next 10 incoming freshman classes. That would mean increasing six-year completion rates for degree and transfer-seeking students to 62.8 percent from the current rate of 48.1 percent.

The system's 112 colleges enroll 2.1 million students. Its student success rates will be crucial to whether the college completion goals set by President Obama and powerful foundations can be met. Recent system-wide policy changes aimed at improving those rates include giving some students priority in registering for courses, redesigned student support services, streamlined transfer processes and closer collaboration with K-12 schools in the state.

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