Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Protesters gathered on Saturday at Colby College and called for the resignation of Bob Diamond, chair of the college's board of trustees -- and until recently, chief executive officer of the British bank Barclays, which is embroiled in a interest-rate fixing scandal. Diamond resigned from his position at Barclays on July 3, a week after the bank was fined $450 million for attempting to fix the interest rate at which London banks lend to each other (abbreviated Libor) to profit on trading and also to make its borrowing costs look better during the financial crisis.

Protesters also wanted the college to say that millions of dollars in donations to the college came from alleged illegal profits he accrued while at Barclays. According to the Kennebec Journal, Diamond, a 1973 Colby graduate, donated about $14 million in recent years.

Michael Kiser, vice president for communications at the college, said the protesters were allowed to meet in front of the campus's Diamond Building, which was built after Diamond gave $6 million toward the construction of a social sciences and interdisciplinary studies building in 2003. He said the protest was not indicative of the larger Colby community's response to the scandal, adding that some alumni have contacted the college with questions, but not complaints.

Kiser said the protests don't reflect the college's stance, either: "We don't see any change in Bob's relationship to the college," Kiser said. "He's a stalwart alum."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Bain & Co. on Monday published a report and a database that the consulting company says show that a third of colleges in the country are on an unsustainable financial path. The report by the company, which has been increasing its profile in higher education by advising college and university administrations on where and how to restructure their budgets, argues that institutional debt is too handily outpacing revenues and educational expenditures.

 

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Universal Technical Institute over a former employee's complaint about potential violations of rules prohibiting incentive compensation in student recruiting as well as other potential violations, according to a corporate filing. The for-profit, which specializes in automotive technician training, also disclosed that the same former employee has claimed to have been subjected to retaliation by the company for being a whistleblower. The company said the employee was terminated for performance rather than for any retaliatory reason.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Zald of Vanderbilt University reveals why some people are more willing to go the extra mile for a potential reward. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The Education Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday released their standardized "shopping sheet," a financial aid award letter they'd like all colleges to adopt. While standardizing award letters remains controversial with many colleges, 10 college presidents and state system heads have already agreed to use the department's model, which includes the cost of attendance (broken down into tuition and fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, transportation and other costs); state, federal and institutional grants and scholarships; the net price after scholarships; and loan options. It also includes the college's six-year graduation rate and default, and the average monthly payment for a typical student who takes out loans.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he believes peer pressure -- and pressure from students and their parents -- will cause other institutions to follow suit. "There's tremendous interest in this," Duncan said. "We'll move this as far as we can on a voluntary basis, but we're not anticipating a huge amount of resistance." 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 4:18am

The University of California at Berkeley is joining edX, which was recently formed by Harvard University at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer MOOCs, or massively open online courses. The Berkeley announcement comes a week after Coursera, another provider of MOOCs by elite universities, announced a major expansion. In the announcement from edX, the three members are now referred to as the "X Universities." In a statement explaining the choice of edX, Robert J. Birgeneau, the chancellor at Berkeley, specifically noted the nonprofit model at edX. "We are committed to excellence in online education with the dual goals of distributing higher education more broadly and enriching the quality of campus-based education. We share the vision of MIT and Harvard leadership and believe that collaborating with the not-for-profit model of edX is the best way to do this," he said.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012 - 4:32am

The Memphis College of Art, a private, nonprofit institution, is experiencing severe financial problems, The Commercial Appeal reported. The college's board has declared financial exigency, laid off four faculty members and announced plans to sell much of its art collection. Officials believe that the cuts have turned things around, and say that the budget is now balanced. But the budget for 2012-13 is down 28 percent from the budget for 2011-12.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012 - 3:00am

The Vatican has ordered the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru to stop using either "Pontifical" or "Catholic" in its name, saying that the institution has moved too far from Roman Catholic teachings, BBC reported. The university and the Vatican have argued for years about the degree to which the university must adhere to Vatican ideas about what a Catholic university must do. A recent dispute has involved the university's resistance to placing the archbishop of Lima on the university's board.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012 - 3:00am

A new report put out by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of Schools of Public Health identifies three categories of competencies -- knowledge, skills and attitudes -- that graduates of medical schools and public health programs should have in order to appropriately provide health care, services and policies to an increasingly diverse population.

According to the report -- “Cultural Competence Education for Students in Medicine and Public Health” -- programs should tailor their curricula to specific competencies instead of adopting the entire list. The proposed competencies include:

  • Identifying cultural factors that contribute to health and wellness.
  • Identifying health disparities that exist at the local, state, regional, national, and global levels.
  • Describing and implement the elements of effective communication with patients, families, communities, peers, and colleagues.
  • Describing the role of community engagement in health care and wellness.
  • Integrating cultural perspectives of patient, family and community in developing treatment/interventions.
  • Demonstrating shared decision making.

As a "roadmap for the future," the report also recommends five methods to instill these cultural competencies as well as reduce health disparities and promote enhanced health and wellness:

  • Promoting faculty skill in competency-based education.
  • Integrating application of the competencies.
  • Cultivating an agenda for research and scholarship.
  • Employing case studies.
  • Identifying strategies for translating curriculum to practice settings.
Monday, July 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Brother James Liguori resigned Thursday as head of Fordham University's Westchester County campus after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in 1969, The Poughkeepsie Journal reported. A statement from the university said that "Brother Liguori passed a criminal background check in fall 2011, when he was hired by Fordham. University officials began investigating immediately [after reports surfaced of the accusation], and on Friday, July 20, Brother Liguori submitted his resignation, effective immediately." Brother Liguori was formerly president of Iona College. Brother Liguori could not be reached for comment.

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