Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 7, 2013

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights plans to investigate how the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill handles sexual assaults on the campus, the Associated Press reported. The agency said in a March 1 letter that it would conduct an inquiry into a complaint filed on behalf of 64 women in January that alleged, among other things, that said the individuals who run the campus judicial system mistreated victims and that upper-level administrators pressured them to underreport sexual assault statistics to the federal government.

March 7, 2013

It's that time: a new month, a new Cartoon Caption Contest.

Click here to suggest a caption for March's cartoon, the latest drawing by Matthew Henry Hall. The three entries deemed most clever and creative by our experts' panel will be put to a vote by our readers, and the winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated by our judges as finalists for our February cartoon. 

And congratulations to the winner of our January contest: Aaron J. Moore, director of alumni relations for the California State University System's chancellor's office and executive director of the CSU Alumni Council. Find out more about him and his submission by visiting this link.

March 7, 2013

The University of Michigan will today announce a $50 million gift for its graduate program in writing, AnnArbor.com reported. The gift is believed to be the largest ever for a writing program, and comes at a time that mega-gifts have become much more common for science and business programs than for those in the humanities. The gift is from Helen Zell, a Michigan graduate and longtime supporter of the program.

 

March 7, 2013

Both houses of the Texas Legislature approved a measure Wednesday that would merge two existing institutions to create one university in South Texas, and give the region its first medical school, The Monitor reported. The legislation would formalize a plan hatched late last year by the University of Texas System to merge its Pan American and Brownsville campuses, which are about 60 miles apart, to strengthen the delivery of education in the Rio Grande Valley. The legislation would also create a new medical school to try to address a physician shortage in the region.

 

March 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — Carmel Martin, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development at the Education Department for the past four years, is leaving that post for the Center for American Progress, the center announced Tuesday. Martin will become executive vice president for policy at the liberal think tank, overseeing its policy development.

Martin, whose departure was bemoaned by former department higher education staff on Tuesday, had been considered likely to play a larger role in shaping the department's higher education policy in Obama's second term. She focused heavily on K-12 education in the first term but had played key roles in efforts to bolster state data systems, among other things. And she had reportedly been a more visible presence in postsecondary-related meetings in recent months.

Instead, she joins what has become something of a departmental exodus in recent months. Since before the election, observers have warned that departures of key political appointees and career staff members have left a policy making void on higher education. David Bergeron, the acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education, said in February that he would leave his job at the department. 

March 6, 2013

A donor to the law school at Georgetown University is suing to get millions in gifts refunded, The Dallas Morning News reported. According to the suit, on which Georgetown is not commenting, the gifts were supposed to result in a fitness center named for the donor, Scott K. Ginsburg. After a jury found him guilty of insider trading, the suit says, the university suggested that it would be best not to name a facility for him. But he says he never agreed to a change in the gift terms, so now he's suing.

 

March 6, 2013

Authorities are unsure of whether someone dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb was walking near the Afrikan Heritage House at Oberlin College, The New York Times reported. The report that someone in a Klan-style robe was walking on campus, following various other incidents of hate speech on the campus, led Oberlin to call off classes for a day. But police officers said that they have not been able to confirm the Klan report. At the same time, they have received a report of someone walking, wrapped in a blanket, raising the possibility that the latter report was the accurate one.

 

March 6, 2013

The large college enrollment growth seen in the post-recession period leveled off between 2011 and 2012, but continued state budget cuts meant that public colleges and universities saw a 9 percent decline in per-student state appropriations between 2011 and 2012, according to a report released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The report, a followup to one released in January, finds that while spending increased in three of every five states, those increases were small, and when coupled with large decreases in states like California, amounted to an overall decline.

Public colleges and universities have tried to make up the difference through tuition increases. Net tuition revenue as a share of general operating revenues (excluding grants for research and auxiliary functions) grew from 31.6 percent in 2008 to 42.5 percent in 2012. Since 2002, enrollment at public universities has increased 28 percent, according to the report.

“One year does not make a trend, but SHEEO’s annual studies document a long-term trend toward shifting more of the burden of financing higher education onto tuition and fees," said SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter in a press release. "In light of these trends, policymakers should give more attention to the size and effectiveness of state and institutional student assistance programs in providing access and adequate support for full-time enrollment in postsecondary education.

As with similar studies, the overall trend masks deep differences between states. While some states, such as Iowa, have seen significant declines in per-student appropriations that tuition hikes have not been able to compensate for, other states, particularly North Dakota, have seen robust growth in enrollments, per-student spending and tuition prices that leave them in much better positions than in 2000.

March 6, 2013

The government of British Columbia proposed Tuesday that the Canadian province adopt a unified system of quality assurance across all types of postsecondary education, which would replace separate systems that now exist and extend oversight to language schools that to date have gone without meaningful review.

March 6, 2013

Quinnipiac University has made “some effort” toward coming into compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal judge ruled Monday, but not enough to lift the injunction preventing the institution from eliminating its women’s volleyball team. This marks the third judicial loss for Quinnipiac stemming from history of providing adequate opportunities for female athletes, which Title IX requires to be equitable to those of males. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed that Quinnipiac erred in 2010 when it attempted to replace volleyball with competitive cheerleading, which cannot be counted as a varsity sport under Title IX.

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