Higher Education Quick Takes
Six former or current students at Great Neck North High School, in New York, were arrested Tuesday based on allegations that they paid between $1,500 and $2,500 for another student to take the SAT for them, the Associated Press reported. The student charged with taking the SAT for others faces charges of scheming to defraud and criminal impersonation.
Five major technology companies have agreed to a series of investments in facilities and research in New York State, in a deal that will bring billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to the state -- with big gains for the State University of New York. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the deal Tuesday and said that the state will spend $400 million over the next five years in the SUNY College for Nanoscale and Science Engineering, in Albany. That college is expected to see significant job growth, as is the SUNY Institute of Technology, in Utica.
In today’s Academic Minute, Professor Christopher Robbins of the State University of New York at Purchase explains how viewing problems from within the context of a different culture can bring about novel solutions. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
Jack Conway, Kentucky's attorney general, on Tuesday filed a consumer protection lawsuit against National College of Kentucky, Inc., a for-profit, for allegedly misrepresenting job placement numbers. Conway is leading a 22-state investigation of potential abuses among for-profits. He has also sued Daymar College for allegedly misleading students about their textbooks and financial aid and joined a whistle-blower complaint against Education Management Corporation over allegations of illegal payments to student recruiters, and he is investigating five other for-profits operating in Kentucky. The suit against National claims the college publicly displayed "significantly higher" job placement rates than the rates it reported to an accrediting agency. National has attempted to block the investigation, and has appealed a judge's ruling that it could continue.
The compensation for top administrators at the wealthiest private colleges and universities in Massachusetts continues to rise, according to a report by the Center for Social Philanthropy at the Tellus Institute, located in Boston.
More than $157 million was paid to 339 top university officials in 2009, the latest data available, the report states. Twenty employees received more than $1 million, with the highest package exceeding $6 million at Harvard University. According to a press release from the center: "The financial crisis of 2008-09 appears to have done little to dampen the size of compensation packages received by the most highly paid college officials, even as colleges themselves have imposed cuts to programs and lower-level staff, often in response to sharp declines in the value of their endowments."
Officials at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts declined to comment.
The University of Missouri at Columbia's medical school is reporting success with a program designed to send more medical students on to careers in rural health care. An article in the new issue of Academic Medicine describes a special track at the medical school in which students are exposed to rural health needs and issues throughout their time in medical school. Participants in the program were more than twice as likely as others to obtain residencies in family medicine, and 57 percent of participants started their medical practices in rural areas (compared to 9 percent of all M.D.s who work in rural areas).
Achieving the Dream today added 23 community colleges to its list of 52 "leader colleges." Colleges get the nod for improved graduation rates, closed achievement gaps and "changing lives," according to the nonprofit group, which works with 160 institutions on "evidence-based, student-centered" reforms in the community college sector. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas was one of the colleges to earn the leader college distinction, due in part to bulked up remedial education coursework that increased the college's three-year graduation or certificate completion rate to 24 percent from 10 percent over a four-year period.
While many colleges won't sell alcoholic energy drinks, the University of New Hampshire is considering a ban on non-alcoholic energy drinks such as Full Throttle and Red Bull, the Associated Press reported. In fact, the university announced a ban on the sale of such products Monday, but backtracked later in the day and said it would study the idea further before imposing a ban. (This updates an earlier version of this item, based on the reported ban.) "The University of New Hampshire is committed to making its campus the healthiest in the country," Rick MacDonald, assistant director of dining at the university, said when explaining the idea behind the ban.
The Delegate Assembly of the United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, has adopted a package of measures designed to promote the interests of non-tenure-track faculty members. The UUP, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, pledged to adopt a system in which adjuncts who go on and off payroll can remain members of the union. Further, each campus chapter will have an officer focused on contingent issues, and at least one spot on the statewide union's executive board will be held by someone off the tenure track.
Jane Sanders resigned Monday as president of Burlington College, citing unspecified differences with the college's board, The Burlington Free Press reported. Speculation about her departure has been rampant since the disclosure of a board agenda with an item labeled "removal of the president."