Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

Westwood College, which has been among the institutions singled out by U.S. senators critical of for-profit colleges, announced Wednesday that it would provide up to $500 a month for six months to certain graduates who fail to find jobs in their fields within six months of earning their degrees. The "employment pledge," as Westwood calls it, would be available to students who earn at least a 3.0 grade point average and work with the college's career office to actively pursue a job. In return, eligible bachelor's degree recipients could earn up to $500 a month and associate degree recipients up to $250 a month for six months. "We're so confident that an education at Westwood will prepare you for a brighter future, we're putting our money where our commitment is -- on your success," the college said in a news release. A spokesman for Westwood said that about half of its graduates earn a 3.0 average, and that the program was designed in part to give more of them an incentive to do so.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

A new poll by the University and College Union, the main faculty union in Britain, has found deep skepticism of for-profit higher education, which is starting to eye British markets, Times Higher Education reported. The poll found that 88 percent of British academics strongly disagree with any move to allow for-profit colleges to have access to public funds, and 85 percent believe for-profit offerings will be of lower quality than those at nonprofit institutions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am
  • Jayanth R. Banavar, distinguished professor and George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head of Physics at Pennsylvania State University's University Park campus, has been named dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at University of Maryland at College Park.
  • Paul Bonicelli, provost at Houston Baptist University, in Texas, has been chosen as executive vice president at Regent University, in Virginia.
  • Jean Ann Linney, professor of psychology and sociology and director of women's studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been selected as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, in Pennsylvania.
  • Monica Loughlin, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, has been appointed director of the freshman seminar there.
  • Mark T. Shay, regional director at IDP Education, has been named senior vice president for marketing and business development at Drexel e-Learning, Inc., in Pennsylvania.
  • Mark Simpson-Vos, senior acquisitions editor at the University of North Carolina Press, has been promoted to editorial director there.
  • Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

    With Minnesota facing a government shutdown because its political leaders are at odds over a budget plan, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has received assurances from Governor Mark Dayton that it will be able to remain open even if other agencies close their doors. Officials of the 32-college system, whose two- and four-year institutions enroll about 67,000 students in the summer, announced that the governor had assured them that the state's payroll office would provide enough services that the colleges -- funding the rest of their operations with funds from tuition and their own reserves -- would be able to stay open.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

    In today’s Academic Minute, Mahlon Grass of Lock Haven University examines the inspiration many modern musical artists draw from classical composers. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

    Harvard University is shifting the plans for its new science campus in Allston, The Boston Globe reported. While the new campus will still include a major facility for science and health researchers who currently are running out of space elsewhere at the university, a major emphasis of the new campus will be on corporate research. As many as 12 buildings are expected to be used by pharmaceutical, biotechnology and venture capital companies, adding an industry component to the project.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

    The government agency in Wales charged with deciding whether local universities have developed adequate plans for ensuring accessibility to low-income students beginning in 2012-13 has rejected all of the institutions' initial proposals, Times Higher Education reported. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales told 14 postsecondary institutions that their tuition plans, as currently constructed, "do not meet the necessary requirements." Several Welsh universities have proposed raising their tuitions to £9,000 under the new tuition regime there, which is similar to a controversial process now unfolding in Britain.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00am

    Critics of college trustees frequently accuse them of being isolated. The Board of Governors of Rutgers University on Wednesday literally built a wall to keep protesting students out of the room, The Star-Ledger reported. Board members said that they were unable to conduct business with rowdy protesting students in the audience.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 3:00am

    The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, is today releasing a report that is harshly critical of nonprofit colleges, charging that common practices (such as running programs at the same tuition levels, when some have much larger enrollments than others) create "profits" at nonprofit colleges. "Undergraduate education is a highly profitable business for nonprofit colleges and universities. They do not show profits on their books, but instead take their profits in the form of spending on some combination of research, graduate education, low-demand majors, low faculty teaching loads, excess compensation, and featherbedding. The industry’s high profits come at the expense of students and taxpayers," says the report, written by Vance H. Fried, the Riata Professor of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 3:00am

    Many attendees of large scholarly gatherings complain that sessions in which long papers are read aloud rarely excite the audience. One solution is the "precirculated paper," in which scholars give out the paper in advance and spend less time reading aloud at the actual meeting, and more time in discussion. The American Historical Association has been encouraging this option for its annual meeting, but announced this week that it was suspending the practice. Among the problems: those who signed up for the option didn't submit their papers on time, those papers that were circulated weren't read in advance, and not enough attendees understood the concept.

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