Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The City University of New York Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Monday to introduce a new general education framework for and streamline student transfer among the system's numerous two- and four-year institutions. The resolution calls for a 42-credit general education framework, consisting of a 30-credit "common core" among all the system's institutions and a 12 "college-option" credits that are to be designated by each four-year institution. Currently, general education requirements vary by campus from 39 to 63 credits. The resolution also stipulates that student’s electives taken at any CUNY institutions will transfer with full credit to any other CUNY institution. Matthew Goldstein, CUNY chancellor, noted that the new framework “will strengthen and lift the quality of education at our community colleges and help align coursework more consistently with the senior colleges, further enhancing opportunities for student advancement.” CUNY faculty were divided on the changes; most four-year faculty argued that the smaller general education framework would limit institutional autonomy to set curriculum, while some two-year faculty were sympathetic to the easing transfer for their students.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act Tuesday morning, nearly ten years after the proposal — which would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by pursuing a college degree or joining the military — was first introduced.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano and Department of Defense Undersecretary Clifford Stanley in endorsing the act before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stanley will be talking about the military benefits of passing the act.

In a teleconference with the media on Monday afternoon, Duncan acknowledged that the main purpose of the hearing is to raise awareness, and he emphasized the need to “educate Americans” on the benefits of bringing some undocumented immigrants into the workforce.

“We need to summon the courage and political will (to pass it),” Duncan said. “We need the human potential.”

The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced in every Congressional session since its first introduction in 2001 — sometimes as a standalone bill, and sometimes as a part of other legislation — and failed each time. It was re-introduced by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in May.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The City University of New York Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Monday to introduce a new general education framework for and streamline student transfer among the system's numerous two- and four-year institutions. The resolution calls for a 42-credit general education framework, consisting of a 30-credit "common core" among all the system's institutions and 12 "college-option" credits that are to be designated by each four-year institution. Currently, general education requirements vary by campus from 39 to 63 credits. The resolution also stipulates that student’s electives taken at any CUNY institutions will transfer with full credit to any other CUNY institution. Matthew Goldstein, CUNY chancellor, noted that the new framework “will strengthen and lift the quality of education at our community colleges and help align coursework more consistently with the senior colleges, further enhancing opportunities for student advancement.” CUNY faculty were divided on the changes; most four-year faculty argued that the smaller general education framework would limit their institutional autonomy to set curriculum, while some two-year faculty were sympathetic to the easing transfer for their students and supported the idea of a common core.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Bryant University has announced that it will no longer require the SAT or ACT for admission. The shift will start as a four-year pilot, in which applicants who do not wish to submit test scores will instead provide two or three short answer questions. "As an institution committed to developing the student as a whole, this was a natural progression in our admission process as it allows students more opportunities to demonstrate their strengths and talents," said a statement from the university. "While we recognize that standardized tests accurately measure aptitude for many students, there are many still whose talents are not measured by such tests."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Donna Reittinger of the College of Saint Rose explains how the language we use about death can induce needless stress. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act Tuesday morning, nearly 10 years after the proposal -- which would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by pursuing a college degree or joining the military -- was first introduced. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of Defense Under Secretary Clifford Stanley in endorsing the act before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stanley will be talking about the military benefits of passing the act.

In a telephone news conference with reporters on Monday, Duncan acknowledged that the main purpose of the hearing -- which has failed numerous times and is widely seen as unlikely to pass until Congress takes up broader immigration legislation -- is to raise awareness. He emphasized the need to “educate Americans” on the benefits of bringing some undocumented immigrants into the work force. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced in every Congressional session since its first introduction in 2001 -- sometimes as a standalone bill, and sometimes as a part of other legislation -- and failed each time. It was re-introduced by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in May.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Rutgers University has spent more than $115 million in university funds and student fees on athletics since 2006, more than any other public university, according to an analysis by USA Today. The 2009-10 total was $26.9 million, also in first place, followed by the University of Connecticut ($14.6 million), the University of South Florida ($14.2 million), the University of Maryland at College Park ($13.7 million), and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville ($13.6 million). The article notes that the spending at Rutgers has come during a period that the university has said that money is so tight that it must skip raises negotiated with employee unions.

Rutgers declines to have its senior executives talk to USA Today and instead issued a statement: "Requests for funding for the Rutgers athletics department, whether through student fees or other institutional resources, are reviewed annually by the university's administration. These requests, along with those from other units throughout the institution, are considered in the development of a comprehensive working budget for the university, traditionally adopted in July by the Board of Governors.… Members of the Rutgers community are invited to comment on budgetary matters at a number of meetings and public forums throughout the year, including an annual open hearing on tuition and fees, usually held in April."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

One of the largest operators of college bookstores has become the latest victim of the flight from print and from brick-and-mortar retailing. Nebraska Book Co., which operates about 280 stores on or near U.S. college campuses, announced Monday that it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after its officials found the company unable to refinance maturing debt, Reuters reported. "The relative decline of [the company's] off-campus stores' performance is due to a combination of on-line textbook sales and, more recently, online rental programs, which have been successful in attracting 'value shoppers,' the debtors' primary customers in the off-campus stores," Nebraska Book's CFO wrote in a bankruptcy filing. The company said it had lined up financing to keep operating as it restructures.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Maddie Poshard has turned down a full scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University, where her father is the president, The Chicago Tribune reported. Her decision -- a reversal -- follows a Tribune article raising questions about a public university giving a merit scholarship to a close relative of the president.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Washington Theological Union, a Roman Catholic seminary and graduate school, announced Monday that it "does not have the financial resources" to remain open after the 2012-13 academic year. The 40-year-old institution will enroll its last students this fall and operate long enough to see them through their studies, its officials said. Like many very small institutions, seminaries have been hard hit by the economic downturn of the last several years, and many have closed or looked to merge.

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