Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The Coalition for Educational Success, a lobbying group made up of for-profit colleges, announced Thursday that it was working to formulate "standards of responsible conduct" by which its member institutions would have to abide. The coalition includes more than 20 institutions that enroll 350,000 students, and has been at the forefront of the pushback against proposed federal gainful employment regulations.

Very few details were available Thursday about the standards, which are still being formulated and will be released within 90 days, said Penny Lee, managing director of the coalition. They would include more disclosure to prospective students on tuition costs, student debt and job placement, as well as guidelines for financial aid, enrollment and career placement, as well as a way to enforce the regulations. The standards will be compiled by two former governors, Thomas Kean, a Republican who led New Jersey for two terms in the 1980s, and Ed Rendell, who was Pennsylvania's Democratic governor from 2002 until January of this year, as well as "probably another four or five individuals from a variety of different aspects of higher education," Lee said.

Lee said the effort was intended in part to dispel criticism about for-profit colleges. "What we are trying to show and demonstrate is that this sector is a sector that plays a critical role, not only in education, but in the workforce and economy of this country," she said. The standards were described in vague terms, but Campus Progress, a liberal group, has already criticized the effort. "[I]f the Wall Street collapse taught us anything, it is that self-policing is at best ineffective, and at worst disastrous," the group said in a release.

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The embattled president of Florida's Edison State College will suggest today that trustees cut his comparatively large annual compensation of $832,000 by more than 20 percent, with a promise to use the savings to fund scholarships for students, The News-Press reported. The cut would lower Kenneth Walker's total compensation in 2011-12 to $653,173, from $832,125.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Mount Saint Mary College's Charles Zola examines the meaning of Easter to Christians through history and in the present. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The provost of Drake University, Michael Renner, announced Tuesday that he would step down next month because of differences with David Maxwell, the president, The Des Moines Register reported. “In my recent conversations with the president, it has become clear that our respective leadership philosophies differ in important ways,” said Renner, in an e-mail to the campus. “In view of this, I believe that it is in the best interests of the university for me to step aside and allow the president to seek a new provost.” Renner declined to elaborate on the differences and Maxwell could not be reached.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Marc Hauser, a Harvard University psychology professor who the university determined committed scientific misconduct, will be barred from teaching for the next year, The Boston Globe reported. While the university has announced that it found Hauser guilty of misconduct, it has been vague about the nature of the misconduct. Hauser had previously been scheduled to teach in the fall.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Dharun Ravi, who was the roommate of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who killed himself last year, was charged with 15 counts related to allegations that he filmed Clementi's encounter with a man and broadcast it in an act of anti-gay bias, the Associated Press reported. Ravi also was charged with trying to cover up what he did. Ravi's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The cheer team at California State University at Long Beach has been stripped of its national title after the discovery that one of the members was no longer a student, NBC Los Angeles reported. The university is investigating the possibility that another team member may also have not been a student.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Ellen Lewin, a professore of anthropology and gender, women's and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa, is under fire for her response to a mass e-mail from a campus Republican group about "Conservative Coming Out Week." Lewin replied "FUCK YOU REPUBLICANS" from her university account. Now Republicans are complaining about her language, The Iowa City Press Citizen reported. Lewin has apologized, sending a subsequent e-mail message in which she said: "I admit the language was inappropriate, and apologize for any affront to anyone’s delicate sensibilities. I would really appreciate your not sending blanket emails to everyone on campus, especially in these difficult times."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Rick O'Donnell, a controversial adviser to the University of Texas Board of Regents -- seen as promoting the ideas of Governor Rick Perry, a Republican -- is no longer employed by the system, the Associated Press reported. O'Donnell blamed senior officials at the system office and the flagship campus at Austin for obstructing research he was doing on whether faculty members spend enough time teaching.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 3:00am

After unionizing last August, adjuncts at Central Michigan University have reached agreement on a new contract that would increase job security and, more modestly, their pay. The four-year deal, announced Tuesday by the Union of Teaching Faculty and CMU, would apply to about two-thirds of the unit's 340 members who work part-time or more. The bargaining unit includes adjuncts and graduate students. A separate unit, affiliated with the Michigan Education Association, represents tenured and tenure-track faculty.

CMU administration confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached, but withheld further comment pending the deal's ratification. Sources familiar with the terms of the deal said that, a year from now, adjuncts who have taught for five years will become eligible to sign multi-year contracts. Job security was achieved in return for modest pay increases, mostly directed to lower paid workers. The lowest paid adjuncts who work full-time would see their wages rise from the current level, less than $20,000, to $24,000, sources said. The union recently began campaigning for higher wages for adjuncts by highlighting members who worked full-time, but needed to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

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