Higher Education Quick Takes
The California State University System is facing a period of dramatic change in campus leadership, The Los Angeles Times reported. Five long-serving presidents have announced retirement plans. Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the system since 1998, said he couldn't remember a time when the system had as many presidential openings, and that there may be additional retirements within a year. The campuses where presidents have announced that they will retire are the Cal State institutions in Fullerton, Northridge, San Bernardino and San Francisco, and the California Maritime Academy.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is facing questions and criticism over its decision on Friday to remove from its Facebook page comments about the strike by faculty members at the institution. The university removed the comments after a number were posted that urged officials to settle the strike or that expressed sympathy with the faculty members. Rod Sievers, a spokesman for the university, said that the university noticed some comments that were "profane" or were "personal attacks," and that some of the comments were "pretty vile." He said that campus officials initially tried to delete only that type of material, but that the university has only a single person to monitor the Facebook page. "That person couldn't keep up with the profanity and personal attacks. So the university had to stop all comments," Sievers said.
The University of Colorado Board of Regents plans to reconsider a policy that generally allows tenured faculty members who are fired to remain on payroll for a year, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. It is rare for tenured faculty members to be fired, so the policy is rarely invoked, but the pay rule attracted attention when Ward Churchill was fired as an ethnic studies professor at the Boulder campus and he collected about $96,000 in salary after his dismissal. Under the shift being proposed, the board could determine whether a fired professor should be paid, and the board would consider recommendations on the issue from a faculty committee.
Tullisse (Toni) Murdock announced Thursday that she will retire as chancellor of Antioch University at the end of the academic year. Murdock was praised by board leaders for her leadership in a time of many changes for the university, but her positions have frequently been controversial. Murdock was widely criticized by supporters of Antioch College after the university's decision to shut the college down (the college has since been revived but is no longer part of the university that grew around it). More recently, she has clashed with board members of the Los Angeles campus. In many of the controversies she has faced, Murdock has argued that she was making tough, necessary decisions -- while critics have said she was not sufficiently open to autonomy for various parts of the university system.
Stanford University's Graduate School of Business is today announcing the creation of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies with a $150 million gift from Dorothy and Robert King. The institute will seek to stimulate, develop, and disseminate research and innovations that enable entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing economies. The Kings have made a $100 million gift to fund the institute, and they will provide an additional $50 million in matching funds, with the goal of creating a $200 million fund for the new program.
A new report is urging sted wordier "putting out a call to action to" dl higher education leaders not only to engage in preventing climate change but to prepare for and respond to its impact. The report, "Higher Education's Role in Adapting to a Changing Climate," compiled by the Higher Education Climate Adaptation Committee, states that many colleges and universities have taken some steps to mitigate this sentence is hard to scan ... can we say "have taken some steps to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions." dl climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But these institutions "have a critical role to play in preparing society to adapt to the impacts of climate disruption," the report states. The discussion must shift to include prevention and adaptation, the report states, and colleges and universities have a unique opportunity to push that change. The report recommends climate change-focused curriculum, research, risk management and community engagement. It points out that colleges have the opportunity to serve as "hubs" in their local communities for climate change adaptation strategies.
The U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee generated lots of headlines in September with a report finding that $1 billion in Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits were used last year by students who were attending eight for-profit institutions. Critics of for-profits seized on the report's findings, arguing that those colleges have been overly aggressive in recruiting members of the military. The $1 billion figure, however, was incorrect, the committee said today, and actually referred to two years' worth of G.I. Bill benefits.
The committee ran the data again, and distributed corrected numbers Thursday to the news media. The panel's statement said that its basic findings were unchanged: For-profit colleges still accounted for eight of the top 10 recipients of G.I. Bill benefits last year. But the updated findings concluded that the institutions received $626 million, a less attention-grabbing figure. In a written statement, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities called the original report a "reckless rush to judgment" that "unleashed an unwarranted tidal wave of negative publicity for our schools." The group mentioned corrections to a previous Government Accountability Office report that identified improper student recruiting practices at for-profits, and called for "fewer press conferences and more collaboration on higher education reform."
Administrators and faculty members at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College agreed to a new contract Thursday that was preceded by months of negotiations and a weeklong strike in September, the Middletown Journal reported. The trustees unanimously approved the new three-year collective bargaining agreement that will require faculty members to teach 36 workload units over two semesters, 20 percent more than the 30 hours they had originally asked for. The newspaper reported that faculty members will not receive a raise this year but will receive a 2.75 percent annual raise for the next three years. The new contract applies to 200 full-time faculty members.
A petition calling on Congress to protect Pell Grants, student loans and other financial aid programs from budget cuts has gathered more than 37,000 signatures and will soon be delivered to members of the "super committee," the bipartisan panel charged with cutting $1 trillion from the nation's budget by the end of this month, as well as other Congressional representatives. The "Statement of Support" from the Student Aid Alliance, a group of 74 higher education associations that lobby to protect financial aid programs, was launched Oct. 25. Signers include students, faculty and administrators from all sectors.
"Recent budget deals have already cut $30 billion from the student aid programs, sacrificing some students’ benefits to pay for others. States across the country are cutting higher education from their own budgets," the statement reads in part. "That’s why it’s more important than ever to preserve, protect and provide adequate funding for the core federal student aid programs — such as Pell Grants and student loan benefits. Together, these programs offer students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills our nation demands for a strong recovery."