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.
Higher Education Quick Takes
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.
President Obama on Friday announced a series of efforts involving research and education to promote advanced manufacturing. In one program, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture will create a $70 million fund to support research on next generation robots. In another program, Carnegie Mellon University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley and University of Michigan will create "a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation." The universities will also work with businesses and government agencies "to define research opportunities and build a collaborative roadmap for identify key technology priorities."
Two students at Syracuse University are facing disciplinary charges after a video of them shouting racist slurs was posted to YouTube, The Post-Standard reported. The incident took place after the two students called up the stairs at an apartment complex for students to hang out with them. When no one responded, they started shouting slurs. One student filmed the taunts. He has since taken the video down from YouTube, at the request of one of the students, who apologized.
Preppies (of the male variety) can now buy their blazers and their college polo shirts in one shopping trip. Brooks Brothers has announced that, for the first time in its nearly 200-year history, it will sell college apparel, Bloomberg reported. Clothing will be available only from 15 colleges, and this won't be the place to buy college logo boxers. Only sweaters, dress and polo shirts and ties will be sold. "The key for us is re-establishing our connection with what we call the college community -- students, faculty and alumni," Karl Haller, vice president of strategy and business development for Brooks Brothers told Bloomberg. "We have a pretty well-educated customer and there’s a built-in opportunity with alumni who are already our customer base." The 15 colleges: Boston College; the U.S. Naval Academy, Auburn, Cornell, Havard, New York, Ohio State, Princeton, Stanford, and Vanderbilt Universities and the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame and Virginia.
The New York Legislature has approved a plan to allow each campus of the City University of New York and the State University of New York to raise tuition by $300 a year for five years. The plan was a priority of Governor Andrew Cuomo and university leaders. The pattern in New York State has been for some years without tuition increases, followed by other years with large increases. Supporters of the plan said it would make it easier for both the universities and families to plan.
Stephen Everhart, associate professor of finance and associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the School of Business of the American University in Cairo, was killed last week in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his car as he was returning to the U.S. embassy compound from meetings at a university. Everhart was serving as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development on a project to promote entrepreneurship education in Iraqi universities' schools of business and commerce. A statement from American University in Cairo said: "His infectious enthusiasm, his curiosity, passion and wisdom made him a skilled alliance-builder and formidable advocate for business as an engine of growth and prosperity in the developing world."
When presidents bring appointments to boards, they are almost always routinely approved (at least those discussed in public). But the trustetes of San Joaquin Delta College surprised the new president, Jeff Marsee, by rejecting his proposed promotion of the dean of planning and research to serve as acting vice president for business, The Record reported. Trustees said that more candidates should have been considered. Board members have in the past been accused of micromanaging.
In today’s Academic Minute, Emily Mooney of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts explains nature's complex balance between plants and animals. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The private equity firm Providence Equity Partners could announce a deal to buy Blackboard as early as this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. Blackboard announced in April that it was considering offers for a purchase, and much of the speculation has centered on private investors as opposed to companies in the higher ed market.