Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is scheduled to open the Center for Community College Advancement in July. The new center "will provide training and resources to help community colleges build and sustain effective fundraising, alumni relations and communications and marketing programs." CASE appointed Paul C. Heaton, who is currently director of public relations at Northwestern Michigan College, the center's new director. John Lippinscott, CASE president, said in a statement: "While community colleges serve nearly half of all undergraduates enrolled in higher education, they attract less than two percent of philanthropic support for colleges and universities. Our goal for the new center is to become a premier source of benchmarking data, best practices and training in all of the advancement areas in order to address the specialized needs of community colleges and their foundations."

Though CASE already has some community college members, it is primarily known as a fund-raising organization for four-year institutions. CASE's new center will compete more directly for the attention of two-year institutions with the Council for Resource Development, an affiliate organization of the American Association of Community Colleges. Polly Binns, CRD's executive director, told Inside Higher Ed that she was not concerned by the new competition, noting that her organization already competes with CASE in certain areas. "This is probably a good thing for everybody," said Binns, adding that this will force both organizations to better serve community colleges.

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members and alumni of Norfolk State University are increasingly concerned about the closed nature of the search, without any public discussion even of finalists, The Virginian-Pilot reported. University leaders have said a completely private search -- far more common at private colleges than at public institutions like Norfolk -- will yield better candidates. The university's board reportedly selected three finalists in December, offered the job to one of them and was turned down by the preferred candidate.

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The Apollo Group announced Thursday that the accreditor of its University of Phoenix subsidiary was intensifying a review of its recruiting and admissions practices after an initial information request "raised a number of questions about the University of Phoenix's oversight of its recruiting, admissions and financial aid practices and the ability of those practices to serve students effectively while providing them with clear and accurate information." The initial review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools was prompted, Apollo said, by last summer's Government Accountability Office investigation into recruiting practices at Phoenix and other for-profit colleges.

The Higher Learning Commission's president, Sylvia Manning, said that the accreditor had treated the GAO inquiry like it would a formal complaint made against one of the colleges it accredits. "In this case we believe there are issues that are relevant to our criteria for accreditation and we have accordingly taken them seriously," she wrote. Manning added that the accreditor had conducted similar reviews of other HLC-accredited colleges named in the GAO report, though she declined to identify them.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

An appeals court has overturned an award of $2.5 million to a former associate controller at Florida International University who claimed he lost his job in a reorganization because of racial discrimination, The Miami Herald reported. The court found that the former employee failed to meet required standards of proof that racial discrimination was a factor. The university maintained that the reorganization -- which involved an entire division -- was based on problems with the old structure.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is today releasing a report calling for a "master plan" for higher education in the Midwest. The report -- by James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan -- argues that the region needs to think about higher education more strategically as a region, not just as individual states or institutions. The "Bologna process" -- by which European higher education has become much more linked across national boundaries -- is cited as an example, both for its coordination and also for the broad consultation that produced the effort. The time for collaboration is evident, the report says, from the changes already taking place. "No university can control the growth of knowledge nor the educational needs of a society. Information technology is rapidly eliminating the barriers of space and time that have largely shielded campus activities from competition," the report says.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

The revived Antioch College has announced its first three faculty hires. Faculty members and alumni of the institution that Antioch University shut down have been pushing for the rehiring of professors from the old Antioch College, while the administration has been insisting on new searches for all openings. Of the first three hires, two are finishing their doctorates, while one is a faculty member who taught at the previous Antioch and is now coming back.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement late Tuesday that budget talks with Republican leaders had reached a dead end -- seemingly dooming an effort to put extensions of tax increases before voters in June -- puts California's public colleges in a (more) dire situation, the institutions' leaders said. The University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems have warned that a budget solution that did not include voter-passed extensions of existing taxes would double the size of the already hefty cuts they are facing ($500 million for each of the two university systems and $400 million for the two-year institutions). With Brown ending talks with Republicans, he said, because they insisted on what he called an "ever-changing list of collateral demands" -- though political observers also said poll numbers were not looking favorable, either -- campus leaders spoke Wednesday as if the June ballot measure were dead. “Without a June special election on Gov. (Jerry) Brown’s tax extension proposal, the chance of an all-cuts budget is highly likely,” Jack Scott, chancellor of the community college system, said in a news release. “An $800 million reduction would be unprecedented and an absolute tragedy for our students, faculty and staff as well as a deep blow for our economy.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs to improve the outreach and support it provides to military veterans who receive federal education benefits, the Government Accountability Office said in a report on Wednesday. The report examined the agency's process for making veterans aware of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and other veterans' education programs and for ensuring that schools and veterans meet eligibility rules, among other things, and found room for improvement in some areas.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

An Associated Press survey of colleges' policies designed to prevent drug use by athletes has found them to be widely inconsistent. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has one set of rules, athletic conferences vary widely on their rules, and colleges are all over the place, the survey found.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:00am

As is the case just about every year, the most competitive private universities are announcing record numbers of applications and record low admission rates. This year's announcements include a 6.2 percent admit rate at Harvard University and a 7 percent rate at Stanford University. Amid all that rejection, Bloomberg noted that some alumni admissions interviewers at elite colleges and universities are quitting the once-coveted volunteer positions since so few of the people they interview actually get in.

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