Colleges in parts of Pennsylvania and New York that saw flooding are starting to resume normal operations, while also cleaning up and helping local efforts to repair damage. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is closed until Thursday, although the campus is providing some food service for those who are still there. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. ordered evacuations of the city, and has now lifted that order, permitting the resumption of classes planned for today at King's College. At Wilkes University, classes will resume tomorrow, and officials are reporting minimal damage to the campus. Bucknell and Susquehanna Universities are reporting on student efforts to help the surrounding areas. Further north, the State University of New York at Binghamton (in a city that was hard hit by the flooding) announced that it will resume classes today, although courses scheduled for a downtown campus have been relocated.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University has documented a shift in Baltimore's high school graduates attending college: In the last four years, the percentage starting at two-year colleges, as opposed to four-year colleges, rose by 12 percentage points, to 52 percent. The Baltimore Sun reported that officials are concerned about the trend because only 5.8 percent of those who start at a two-year college earn a degree in six years -- compared with 34 percent who start at four-year-colleges.
The University of Nebraska Press plans to buy and distribute nearly 250 titles from the Jewish Publication Society, a publisher of Jewish scholarly and reference works, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The Jewish Publication Society will continue to identify and publish new works, but Nebraska will distribute them. Officials with the society said that they wanted a university press affiliation and selected Nebraska because of its strong commitment to Jewish studies. The Nebraska press owns about 50 Jewish studies titles and publishes about a four a year.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison is upping the cost for students of receiving an alcohol-related citation. Not only will students have to pay the ticket, but they will have to attend (and pay for themselves) alcohol education classes, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Students will have a choice of $78 for two group sessions or $200 for two one-on-one sessions with a counselor.
Following controversies in several states over demands by conservative groups for the e-mail and other communications of selected faculty members at public universities, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy has released an analysis of how state universities and states might respond. The analysis -- by Rachel Levinson-Waldman, senior counsel of the American Association of University Professors -- offers several options. One is to amend state Freedom of Information Act laws to exempt public college faculty members. But short of that, she notes the possibility of calling for tests that balance legitimate public demands for information with professors' need to discuss ideas frankly but privately.
As many as 24 members of the 2010 football team at California State University at Fresno -- many of them also on this year's team -- have been linked to welfare fraud, the Associated Press reported. The athletes were identified in an investigation of an employee of a county social services department who has been accused of filing on their behalf for benefits to which they were not entitled. Fresno State officials said that the athletes have been punished but declined to comment further.
Tilburg University, in the Netherlands, announced last week that it was suspending D.A. Stapel from his positions as professor of cognitive social psychology and dean of the school of Social and Behavioral Sciences because he "has committed a serious breach of scientific integrity by using fictitious data in his publications." The university has convened a panel to determine which of Stapel's papers were based on false data. Science noted that Stapel's work -- in that publication and elsewhere -- was known for attracting attention. Science reported that Philip Eijlander, Tilburg's rector, told a Dutch television station that Stapel had admitted to the fabrications. Eijlander said that junior researchers in Stapel's lab came forward with concerns about the honesty of his data, setting off an investigation by the university.
The sooner community college students enter an academic or vocational program, the more likely they are to complete a degree or transfer to a four-year college, according to research by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University. But a newly-released study from the center, which tracked 62,000 students at community colleges in Washington State over seven years, found that only about half ever became a program "concentrators" by passing at least three college-level courses in a single field. Less than 30 percent of students completed a degree or certificate, or transferred to a four-year college within seven years. But students were more likely to succeed if they entered a program.
Two public universities are receiving scrutiny over the rehiring of administrators who briefly retired, started receiving their pensions, and then accepted interim positions with some of the same duties they held before retirement. In Wisconsin, a state representative this week called off a hearing on tuition legislation favored by the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay because of his anger at the rehiring of a vice chancellor who returned to work a month after retiring, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. At the Louisiana State University Health Science Center, an administrator was retired for two weeks before returning to work, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.
The University of Antelope Valley, a for-profit institution located in California, has announced that it is paying employers $2,000 for each graduate they hire. The "reimbursement for a UAV graduate's first month's salary" applies to hires made this month, and for jobs that relate directly to graduates' field of study. The university is relatively small, and received federal approval to issue associate's and other degrees in 2009. Industry analysts say the "Smart Hire" program, which also promises to streamline the hiring process for employers, is unusual in higher education. Job placement rates of for profits are a hot issue, most notably with the U.S. Department of Education's new "gainful employment" rules. In some cases for profits and law schools have been accused of falsifying graduates' employment data.