Higher Education Quick Takes
Kent State University, facing deep budget cuts, has limited enrollments in American Sign Language courses to those students who need the language for their majors or minors, The Ravenna Record Courier reported. Students say that the limits are discriminatory because non-majors are still permitted in introductory Spanish and other languages. But officials say that sections of those languages have been cut as well, and that there is no money for more ASL sections.
Budget and other pressures are prompting legislators in several states to consider the normally unthinkable: merging or closing public campuses. Ten days after regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education voted to table a plan to close or merge four of its eight campuses, saying doing so would be too disruptive to students and communities, members of a Nevada legislative subcommittee directed the system to study the idea anew, the Associated Press reported. The lawmakers acted after higher education officials presented a list of possible budget cuts that did not approach the $162 million in reductions to the system's operating budget that Governor Brian Sandoval's fiscal plan would require, the wire service reported. In Maryland, meanwhile, a legislative panel directed the University System of Maryland to consider combining the system's flagship campus, the University of Maryland at College Park, with the University of Maryland at Baltimore, which houses several professional schools. System officials said they would study the idea, which they said might be a smart strategic decision but is not expected to save the system money.
The Maryland Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation to increase regulation of for-profit colleges, The Baltimore Business Journal reported. Among other things, the legislation would authorize the Maryland Higher Education Commission to create a fund, to be financed by all the for-profit colleges operating in the state, that would reimburse students enrolled at for-profit colleges that close or enter bankruptcy.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will today announce a major effort to attract more transfer students from community colleges, The Boston Globe reported. UMass will offer those who transfer from community colleges in the state with a grade-point average of at least 2.5 a range of benefits, including priority course registration and housing, scholarships and special advising services. The university is hoping for an increase of at least 20 percent from the 300 community college transfers it typically enrolls each fall.
Western Michigan University on Tuesday announced a $100 million gift -- its largest ever -- to create a new medical school. While the university is public, it plans to rely on private funds for the new medical school. The donor is anonymous.
Students at the University of Arizona are debating a barbed-wire fence installed across a major campus area by a group that wants to protest the way the movement of immigrants is restricted, KGUN 9 News reported. Organizers said that the detours students were forced to take could prompt needed conversations about immigration issues. Some students said that they were annoyed by the inconvenience.
Canadian higher education leaders on Tuesday praised their federal government's budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which, unlike those put forward by its counterparts in the United States and Britain, would significantly increase spending on higher education and research. The 2011 budget would spend tens of millions of new dollars to create research chairs and invest in brain research, and provide additional funds for student financial aid and study abroad. "[T]oday’s budgetary commitments to higher education are in line with a growing consensus among Canadians that Canada’s research universities play an integral role in advancing our economy and improving the social and economic well-being of all Canadians,” said Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia. “These investments are all the more notable when we are seeing significant budgetary cuts to higher education sectors in other countries."
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
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