Higher Education Quick Takes
Update: Robert A. Kennedy announced his resignation this morning as president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education in Connecticut. Kennedy said that controversy around decisions he had made had "become a distraction" to the work of getting the new system off the ground. The board's chairman, Lewis Robinson, said in a statement of his own that he had accepted Kennedy's resignation.
Pressure built on Thursday for the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system to resign, the Connecticut Mirror reported, amid two weeks of intensifying controversy and confusion over leadership in the higher education system. Robert A. Kennedy, the first president of the recently created system, has been closely aligned with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and has carried out an aggressive reform agenda that included a contentious plan to remake developmental education at public colleges. Last week, though, system leaders clashed with presidents of some of the state's community colleges over their future employment, and that paved the way to revelations that Kennedy had approved big raises for some system leaders.
In the wake of those revelations, leaders of the state board distanced themselves from Kennedy on Thursday, saying that they had not been informed about some of the system's decisions. That prompted a flood of news reports including non-supportive statements from Malloy and outright calls for Kennedy's resignations from legislators in both political parties. The system's board is scheduled to meet today.
More than 40 percent of students and recent graduates with high levels of student debt report that they never received the loan counseling required by federal law, according to a new survey released by NERA Economic Consulting and Young Invincibles. The overwhelming majority of such students favor recent Education Department initiatives to standardize aid award letters so students have a better idea of college costs, and what they may need to borrow. Far too many student borrowers "lack adequate counseling and do not understand basic student loan terms," said Rory O’Sullivan, policy director at Young Invincibles and co-author of a report on the survey.
The University of Phoenix on Thursday announced an immediate tuition freeze for all new and currently enrolled students. Tuition rates will be locked in for students as they work toward degrees, university officials said, as long as they meet eligibility requirements and stay enrolled. The university said the freeze was an effort to keep tuition levels affordable at Phoenix, which is the largest for-profit institution. Tuition rates vary at the university, but some bachelor's degree programs are $420 per credit.
"Meatless Monday" is a program embraced at a number of colleges to encourage vegetarian dining one day a week. At California State University at Chico, officials agreed to offer more non-meat meal selections on Mondays, but have decided not to associate their effort with the "Meatless Monday" slogan, The Mercury Register reported. Chico State has an agriculture college and some of its officials and alumni objected to the university associating with an effort seen by some as denigrating the parts of the agriculture industry that produce meat.
A small group of women in China are protesting discriminatory admissions policies by shaving their heads, ABC News reported. The women are protesting policies under which some universities are admitting men with lower scores on the national admissions test than the minimum required for women at their institutions.
William C. Friday, who led the University of North Carolina for three decades and was as close as anyone to being the prototypical college president who was also a national leader, died today at 92. Friday's long and storied career touched most of the major issues in higher education, from academic freedom to integration to big-time college sports, and his personal grace and political instincts proved formidable tools to enable him to handle them deftly. More on Friday's life and career will be published Monday.
In the meantime, here is an appreciation of Friday by a longtime aide and an expert on academic leadership, Art Padilla. And here are some of the news articles and tributes to Friday that have been published in his home state.
Harvard Law School, which for the past six years has conducted phone interviews with applicants for admission, is switching to videoconferencing. The law school also said that it wants to expand the number of applicants interviewed. "The interviews will give applicants additional opportunities to present themselves, and also to engage with folks here and learn more about the school,” said a statement from Jessica Soban, chief admissions officer. "We expect that these face-to-face conversations will offer candidates a more personal and satisfying way to let the Admissions Office learn about their strengths."I sent harvard a buncg of questions, like how many applicants will get these, will they all have a shot, etc. and the law school is working on answers, so hope to add detail -sj
Various studies have shown strong backing for President Obama among many academics, but a new survey finds Mitt Romney winning one college constituency. Asked whether they would prefer to sit next to Obama or Romney at a home football game, college football fans preferred Romney by a margin of 53 to 42 percent, USA Today reported. However -- and this could be crucial for Midwestern swing states -- Obama won a majority of fans in the Big 10.
Last month Inside Higher Ed introduced its Cartoon Caption Contest, and the response was overwhelming: Hundreds of you suggested captions or otherwise weighed in. Today we publish the second installment -- get those creative juices flowing -- and give you a chance to pick your favorite from among the three finalists we've chosen from the many submissions about September's cartoon. Remember: the winner of each month's contest wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Join the conversation.