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.
Higher Education Quick Takes
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.
Purdue University spent about $500,000 in 2010 on its "Makers, All" branding campaign, which has won kudos from marketing professionals, but angered many students and alumni, The Journal and Courier reported. The newspaper had to file an open records request to obtain the costs from the university. Critics have seen the campaign as moving away from the "Boilermakers" name of the university's athletics teams, but the university has said that the branding campaign is not an attempt to do so.
When presidents bring appointments to boards, they are typically approved (at least those discussed in public). But the trustees 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.
Three men have been arrested for selling fake caste certificates to applicants to Delhi University, The Times of India reported. Under India's affirmative action formulas, applicants from disadvantaged castes have radically improved odds of admission. The Times reported that at least 13 students have been determined to have been admitted with fake certificates of their castes.
An article in The Chicago Tribune examines the issues associated with the awarding of a merit scholarship -- a taxpayer-funded full ride for four years -- to the granddaughter of a public university president. There are no allegations that Maddie Poshard is anything but a top student, or that Glenn Poshard, her grandfather and the president of Southern Illinois University, interfered in the process. But several of those quoted suggest that, strictly from a perception perspective, others would have discouraged her from applying.
Leading academics are threatening to resign from peer review panels of Britain's Arts and Humanities Research Council unless it removes references to the "Big Society" from its agenda, Times Higher Education reported. The Big Society is a policy term coined by the governing Conservative Party to reflect its goals of encouraging local decision-making (as opposed to national), voluntarism and other values. Critics of the Big Society say it is window dressing for a policy of ignoring many problems, and critics of its mention in the humanities council's agenda say that it effectively favors grant proposals consistent with the Conservative philosophy.
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.