Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 15, 2014

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to remove the name of Rahinah Ibrahim, a professor and dean of the architecture and engineering school at the University of Malaysia, from the no-fly list, the Associated Press reported. Ibrahim maintains that she is on the list by mistake, while federal officials have said that national security would be endangered if they were forced to reveal why people are on the list. Ibrahim has been barred from the United States since 2005, when she tried to attend an academic conference in Hawaii.

 

January 15, 2014

A “Do Not Drink” ban was put in place Thursday after a chemical spill contaminated a West Virginia river, leaving 300,000 people -- and several campuses -- without safe tap water. The University of Charleston's spring semester was scheduled to start on Jan. 13, but university officials were asked to instead open campus on Jan. 16. Students who live on campus were sent to a residence hall on a new campus in Beckley, W.V., an hour south of Charleston. On Friday, a quick count showed that at least 60 students had been displaced, but that number rapidly increased to more than 150 over the weekend. Those students can return this evening.

Another school that has had to delay its spring semester is Marshall University’s South Charleston campus. It had to close although the main Marshall campus was not affected.

West Virginia State University also closed and classes will begin Jan. 21.

January 15, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Elizabeth Pringle of the University of Michigan reveals how some tropical trees pay armies of ants to defend them against herbivorous pests. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 15, 2014

The federal government should create a matching grant program to reward states that maintain and increase their funding for public colleges, by linking the maximum Pell Grant awarded to students in states to per-student funding or higher education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities argues in a new report. The paper documents the decline in states' funding per full-time equivalent college student since 2000 and the role that trend has played in driving up tuition prices (and student debt). 

The report asserts that the federal government can influence state behavior, citing the maintenance of effort provisions that were inserted into the federal stimulus legislation (and other measures) that provided funds to states that kept their own spending on higher education above certain thresholds. Those efforts have not gone far enough, though, AASCU argues, by rewarding states that at least maintained their spending no matter whether their levels were high or low. "A new model is needed that acknowledges existing levels of per-student state support for public higher education and that strategically leverages federal dollars to incentivize additional state investment."

The association calls for a matching grant program of up to $15 billion a year, with grants to states based on how much money they provide per student compared to the Pell Grant maximum award. (A state's federal grant award would be cut if it reduced its spending on public university operating support.)

The proposed additional spending of billions a year may seem like an unlikely luxury in an era when members of Congress are bickering over millions, but AASCU suggests that funds for the program could be derived from "better gatekeeping of institutional eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs (particularly for for-profit colleges), and "risk sharing" for federal student loans.

January 15, 2014

Last week, campuses throughout the Midwest shut down due to dangerously cold weather, but the University of Michigan remained open -- to the frustration of many of its employees and students. Now the university says it is reviewing its procedures for closing during bad weather, MLive.com reported. Provost Martha Pollack told a faculty committee that one reason the university didn't close last week was the lack of procedures to do so. "We didn't have the appropriate mechanisms, even if we wanted to close the university," she said. "That said, after this was all over, I and some of the other executive officers really strongly believe that we ... need to revisit this policy." The university last closed for weather-related reasons in 1978.

 

January 15, 2014

Open SUNY -- through which the State University of New York plans to take existing online programs in the 64-campus system and to build on them, making them available for students throughout the system -- has its first degree programs. In her annual address on the state of the university, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced the first degree programs and the campuses that are producing them. The offerings include associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Two SUNY institutions -- Empire State College and SUNY Oswego -- are each offering two programs. The others are being offered by Broome Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, SUNY Delhi and SUNY Stony Brook.

 

January 15, 2014

The Yale University Faculty of Arts and Sciences has voted to form a faculty senate. The faculty was one of the last of its kind in the Ivy League not to have a senate or similarly formal representative body. Tensions between the faculty and administrators highlighted that fact in 2012, as some professors questioned the university’s partnership with the National University of Singapore to create a new college.

The vote was initiated by the Faculty Input Committee, an ad-hoc group of professors that investigated shared governance on campus, starting last year. Steve Wilkinson, a professor of political science who chaired the committee, said via email: “Our committee looked at a number of peer institutions and we realized that we’re an outlier. Most other universities, as their faculties have grown significantly in size, have moved from the traditional town meeting model to an elected representative body which reflects the broader faculty’s interests and concerns.”

Wilkinson said his own opinion was that a faculty senate was a good idea, regardless of the Singapore debate. “Universities are grappling with lots of big issues where faculty input is needed -- budget issues, MOOCs, internationalization, to name just a few – and faculty also have a role to play in providing advice on a whole host of other more routine issues that affect the [Faculty of Arts and Sciences],” he said.

A Yale spokesman said the President Peter Salovey will appoint a faculty committee early this semester to design the structure, staffing and rules of the new senate. The committee will report back to the full Faculty of Arts and Sciences by December for a vote on the plan.

January 15, 2014

Ties between libraries and their institutions' university presses are growing, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Association of American University Presses. A report issued with the survey results praises this collaboration, but urges both parties to work to avoid duplication of services and to coordinate their activities.

 

January 14, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s attempt to become a party to a lawsuit regarding the rights of the NCAA and other entities to use athletes’ “likeness” for video games, publicity purposes and other materials. The NCAA had sought to intervene in a settlement stemming from a lawsuit in which a group of athletes, led by the former Arizona State University quarterback Sam Keller, sued Electronic Arts Inc., Collegiate Licensing Company and the NCAA over the likeness issue. After a federal appeals court ruled against EA last fall, EA asked the Supreme Court to review the case. Shortly thereafter, though, EA and CLC reached a settlement with Keller. (The NCAA remains a defendant.) EA subsequently announced it would no longer produce the popular NCAA Football video game.

The NCAA subsequently sought to enter the appeals case “in light of the important First Amendment issues raised in the case and to ensure that its membership is properly protected given the purported settlement between the plaintiffs and Electronic Arts,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in October. With the Supreme Court's decision, this case essentially dies.
 

January 14, 2014

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art has announced a donation of 320 works of art from the  collection of Dorothy and Herbert (Herb) Vogel. The Vogels are legendary in the art world for the way they built up a significant modern art collection, identifying works they could afford to buy on modest salaries and that became extremely valuable. The gift to Bowdoin includes works by 70 artists, including Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, Edda Renouf, Julian Schnabel, James Siena, Pat Steir and Richard Tuttle.

 

Pages

Back to Top