Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Ohio University has moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Princeton Review's most talked-about annual ranking: top party school. Ohio displaced the University of Georgia for the top spot.

Students at Ohio reported high rates of beer-drinking (it was tops in this category), liquor consumption (second place), and participation in fraternities and sororities (# 11).

OU officials released a statement saying they were "disappointed" in the ranking and felt it did not reflect the experience of most students. To back up this claim, the statement cited the university's biennial alcohol and drug use survey, which was released in June and showed a 2 percent decrease in "high-risk" or "binge" drinking since 2009, and an 8 percent decrease since 2007.

Of the 1,101 respondents, all undergraduates, about 70 percent reported consuming five or more drinks on one occasion within the past two weeks in this year's survey, compared to about 73 percent in 2009 and 78 percent in 2011. Kent Smith, vice president of student affairs, attributed the decline to the university efforts to curb drinking, including a mandatory online alcohol education course and a public relations campaign called "Stop at the Buzz." Drinking is still a problem, he said, but the university is "moving in the right direction."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Robert L. Bogomolny, president of the University of Baltimore, on Monday issued a memo in which he disputed the claims of Phillip Closius, who was ousted last week as law dean, The Baltimore Sun reported. Closius attracted considerable attention when he told law school colleagues that the university was taking tuition money from the law school to support other parts of the university. Bogomolny denied that charge and said that the fight over finances was not the reason for the dean's departure. Bogomolny said he had met with alumni and faculty members and that "the overwhelming conclusion was that a change in leadership was in the best interests" of the law school and the university.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Delinquency rates on student loans have not improved as the economy has stabilized in recent years, as have the rates for other kinds of consumer loans, raising the prospect that significant numbers of student loan borrowers will be unable to repay their loans in the coming years, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report assessing the stability of the student loan market. The report notes that the student loan market expanded during the last part of the 2000s, in contrast to mortgages and other kinds of borrowing that was significant tightened during the economic downturn. But while delinquency rates on those housing and car loans that were issued after the worst of the downturn have improved, those for student loans have flattened, Moody's says. "Unless students limit their debt burdens, choose fields of study that are in demand, and successfully complete their degrees on time, they will find themselves in worse financial positions and unable to earn the projected income that justified taking out their loans in the first place."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am
  • Sean Benjamin, senior radiologic technologist at Northwestern University Health Service, in Illinois, has been named radiologic technology program director at Northwestern College, also in Illinois.
  • Kevin Byrne, professor of history at Gustavus Adolphus College, in Minnesota, has been promoted to associate provost and dean of the faculty there.
  • Susan Canfield, director of events, grant writing and communications coordinator at Central College, in Iowa, has been promoted to director of conferences and events there.
  • Thomas A. Horan, professor of information systems & technology at Claremont Graduate University, has been selected as dean of the School of Information Systems and Technology there.
  • Marianne E. Lord, associate dean of institutional advancement at Boston College, has been chosen as vice president of advancement at Simmons College.
  • Martin J. Parkes, associate vice president of marketing and community relations at Maryville University of Saint Louis, in Missouri, has been appointed as executive director of marketing and communications at Lebanon Valley College, in Pennsylvania.
  • Shirin Philipp, partner and co-chair of the Nonprofit Practice Group at Foley Hoag LLP, in Massachusetts, has been chosen as general counsel at Lesley University.
  • Mona Roozeboom, director of human resources at Central College, in Iowa, has been named associate athletics director for business affairs there.
  • The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 3:00am

    In today’s Academic Minute, Jennifer Wesely of the University of North Florida discusses the connection between violence against women and homelessness. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

    Monday, August 1, 2011 - 3:00am

    Many higher education officials talk about how alumni will react to the firing of popular coach. The Raleigh News & Observer used last week's firing of Butch Davis, the football coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to find out. The newspaper filed an open records request for the e-mail of Chancellor Holden Thorp before and after the dismissal of Davis (whose teams have had success on the field and numerous scandals). Much of the reaction fits the stereotype of how alumni react. There are threats to never give another penny, and e-mails like this one: "You folks are spineless, slimy slugs who have dishonored our whole university." One messages was sufficiently threatening that UNC public safety is investigating.

    But there were other messages that supported the move. And one alumnus, who two days before the firing wrote that he stood behind the football coach "110%," wrote again after Thorp acted. "I know that this has been a long and stressful situation but I support y'all and The University of North Carolina 110%."

    Monday, August 1, 2011 - 3:00am

    Phillip Closius resigned, under pressure, as law dean at the University of Baltimore, and he sent students and faculty members a detailed explanation of his conflicts with the central administration, The Baltimore Sun reported. Specifically, he said that the law schools is increasingly subsidizing the rest of the university in ways that he sees as unfair. "I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable justifying tuition and fee increases to law students when the money was actually being used to fund non-law university initiatives," he wrote. (The full letter is here.) Robert L. Bogomolny, president of the university, did not debate the budget issues raised, but issued a statement praising Closius. "He has strengthened an already outstanding faculty, increased the national recognition of the school, and enhanced the success rates of our students," the statement said.

    Monday, August 1, 2011 - 3:00am

    Everyone knows what to expect in the class updates. So-and-so made partner, bought a new house, had a second kid, made plans to attend homecoming. Some Yale University alumni were thus taken aback when a note in the Class of '73 section of the alumni magazine opened this way: "Sam Taylor sent this intriguing note. 'Did you know that one of your classmates is officially considered a 'hate-monger' by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I believe this is a first for Yale." He went on to plug his latest book (he writes under the name of Jared Taylor), White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century. E-mails from Inside Higher Ed to the editor and class notes editor of Yale Alumni Magazine were not answered. While some readers assume that alumni may exaggerate their activities just a bit in class notes, Taylor was truthful when he said he has been criticized by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Monday, August 1, 2011 - 3:00am

    Law schools and the American Bar Association, facing criticism over the accuracy and completeness of job placement statistics, have been planning new requirements. But last week, NALP: The Association for Legal Career Professionals, wrote the ABA to oppose proposals that would require more reporting by law schools to the ABA on the issue. NALP, which has collected such data, said that dual reporting requirements would impose burdens on law schools and discourage them from participating in NALP's surveys. Moving ahead with its plans would be "detrimental and harmful to legal education, and will in the long term diminish the amount of information available about the legal employment market," the NALP letter said.

    Monday, August 1, 2011 - 3:00am

    Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday pledged increased financial support for the country's universities and for scholarships for low-income students, The Jordan Times reported. The king also called on the universities to increase their focus on science and technology and to seek "untraditional ways" to improve their finances.

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