Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 29, 2012

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces six anti-discrimination statutes including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, is monitoring more cases than ever before, according to a new report. From 2009-12, the report says, OCR received 24 percent more complaints (28,971, of which it closed 28,577) than in any previous four-year period, and conducted more than 100 compliance reviews. More than half dealt with disability issues, about a quarter with Title IX, 14 percent with sex discrimination and 6 percent with age discrimination. The states with the most reviews were Ohio (nine), California (eight) and New York (seven). 

In 2012, OCR resolved 93 percent of 8,051 complaints within 180 days of receipt, compared to 91 percent of 5,964 total complaints in 2008. During that time, OCR says, it streamlined operations, increased capacity and expanded support and assistance, “while receiving and resolving more cases than ever before, and doing it faster.”
 

November 29, 2012

Pennsylvania State University on Wednesday revealed the compensation of Graham Spanier, who was ousted as president last year. The university reported total taxable income for Spanier of $3,255,762. This includes $700,000 annual salary, $82,557 of taxable benefits and nonrecurring compensation of $2,473,205 that Spanier was contractually entitled to under the terms of his 2010 employment agreement. Details may be found here. Spanier was indicted this month on charges of concealing information about suspected child abuse involving Jerry Sandusky, obstructing the criminal investigation of Sandusky, perjury before a grand jury and endangering the welfare of children.

 

 

November 29, 2012

Republicans in the House of Representatives nominated congressmen for leadership positions Wednesday, including several for key posts related in some way to higher education. Representative Lamar Smith of Texas will be the new chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, will stay the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. And although he has reached the six-year term limit, House Republicans tapped Representative Paul Ryan, the former vice presidential candidate and the author of a budget considered likely to cut higher education, to continue as chairman of the Budget Committee.

Committee leadership for the Democrat-controlled Senate have not yet been announced for the next Congress, which takes office in January.

November 29, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, John Mark Froiland of the University of Northern Colorado explains why parental expectations are an important part of academic success. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 29, 2012

The University of Wisconsin System on Wednesday released details about its new competency-based degree offerings, an effort the system first announced in July. Next year campuses will offer degree and certificate programs that are grounded in a series of assessments designed to test student mastery. And the UW Colleges, which are the system's two-year institutions, will offer general education courses in the new competency-based "UW Flexible Option" format. Students will be able to take assessments based not just on self-paced coursework, but on knowledge gained through military and on-the-job training as well as other learning experiences, including MOOCs, the system said.

November 29, 2012

A task force convened by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities released a final report Wednesday that recommends changes to the Department of Education's annual financial responsibility measurement, a combination of three financial ratios that helps determine whether institutions can qualify for federal financial aid. In 2010, many independent colleges were surprised to find their names on the list of institutions that fell below the department's threshold despite what they viewed as stable finances, forcing them to prove their financial solvency through other costly measures.

The association's review found that the department inconsistently applied its standards and that consistent application would have kept many institutions off the list. The department also interpreted some accounting terms in a way that was inconsistent with updated accounting guidelines, including counting endowment losses -- a common feature of university balance sheets in 2010 -- as expenditures. The task force said officials will work with the department and Congress to make changes to the test.

November 29, 2012

The Atlantic Coast Conference on Wednesday invited the University of Louisville to join the sports league, replacing the departing University of Maryland at College Park, which said last week that it would join the Big Ten Conference in the latest round of conference swapping. The ACC will be Louisville's fourth league since 1995; its last move was to join the Big East Conference in 2005-6. In departing the Big East, Louisville follows Rutgers University's move last week, also to the Big Ten. Got that?

November 28, 2012

Several hundred students at Alabama State University held a series of rallies Tuesday to protest the ouster of the new president, Joseph Silver, who was placed on leave on Monday, Alabama.com reported. Silver has said that he was trying to remove some administrators and to fix problems at the university, while board leaders have been vague about why he was placed on leave. Students said that they trusted Silver and believed he was identifying serious issues. "They want Dr. Silver to sweep it under the rug," said one student. "But he was trying to clean it up. He was trying to take out the trash."

November 28, 2012

The almost total transformation of the Big East Conference over the last decade continued apace Tuesday, with news that Tulane University would become the league's newest full member and reports that East Carolina University would join the conference in football only. The Big East has struggled since 2005 to sustain itself as a viable big-time-sports entity as its members continue to be plucked away by richer and stronger leagues, with Rutgers University (which last week joined the University of Maryland at College Park in announcing moves to the Big Ten Conference) the latest defection.

In adding Tulane and East Carolina, the Big East has continued to take its misfortunes out on Conference USA, from which it will have taken a total of 11 members since 2005. The additions of Tulane and East Carolina would give the Big East 13 football-playing members as of 2014. That might seem like an unwieldy number, but that's because the Big East leaders are apparently awaiting another falling domino, with the expected departure of the University of Connecticut to replace Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

November 28, 2012

A large majority of Americans who have attended college believe higher education is a good investment (83 percent) and key to achieving the American dream, according to the results of a national opinion poll Northeastern University released on Tuesday. But an equal proportion of all respondents, including those who had not attended college, said the U.S. higher education system needs to change in order to remain competitive with those of other countries. The poll also found that most Americans believe in the growing value of online degrees. Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 30, 68 percent said an online degree will be just as recognized and accepted among employers as a traditional degree will be in the next five to seven years.

Pages

Back to Top