Higher Education Quick Takes
Britain is planning to cut the number of student visas it issues by 260,000 over the next five years, Times Higher Education reported. Government officials say that the changes are needed to end abuses of the system, but university officials said that the reductions would discourage enrollments from abroad, including the enrollment of full-paying students that the institutions want to attract in a period of steep budget cuts.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved last week the new bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree, which will be the first four-year degree to be offered at the state’s two-year colleges. The degree, which was proposed last year, is “designed to help place-bound adult learners obtain a bachelor’s degree in their communities.” Though it still requires accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and curriculum and policy development by UW Colleges faculty, system officials say the degree could be offered as early as fall 2012. Applied baccalaureate degrees are offered in 39 states, according to recent research.
Bethany University, an Assemblies of God institution in California, announced Monday that it is shutting down. Efforts will be made this summer to help students finish programs or find institutions to which they can transfer. This institution has been struggling financially in recent years, and last week announced a deal to be purchased (but to remain nonprofit), but the agreement -- details of which were never released -- fell through.
Northwestern University announced Monday that David Protess will retire on August 31. As professor of journalism, Protess won acclaim for leading the Innocence Project, which worked to help falsely accused individuals demonstrate their innocence, but in the last year his tactics have been questioned by law enforcement officials and the university.
The new president of Catholic University of America, John Garvey, announced Monday in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that the university will move away from coeducational dormitories. When male and female students share living spaces, he said, they are more likely both to drink excessively and to engage in "hooking up." Garvey writes: "The point about sex is no surprise. The point about drinking is. I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up — and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up)."
A blog post in The National Catholic Reporter noted that many traditionalists are praising Garvey, but the blogger was dubious. "Binge drinking and casual sex truly are problems on college campuses," writes Heidi Schlumpf. "But unless Garvey plans to return the entire university to 1950, I doubt this move will do much to curb either harmful practice. In fact, as others have pointed out, some of the worst binge drinking happens in single-sex men’s dorms, not to mention in single-sex sorority and fraternity houses. But the change will sure position CUA as a place Catholic parents can feel 'safe' sending their adult children. A brilliant PR move."
The Longy School of Music -- which operates in Cambridge, Mass., as a music school for children and a conservatory with degree programs -- will become part of Bard College, the institutions announced Monday. Longy has been seeking to affiliate with a larger institution for several years. Bard is a liberal arts college with a strong arts program and numerous programs that operate away from its main campus.
At a time that most British universities are announcing cutbacks, the University of Birmingham has announced plans to hire 50 postdoctoral fellows from around the world in a range of disciplines, on a track that would convert their jobs to permanent faculty positions within five years. Also notable is that the searches are in humanities and social sciences fields (among the areas in which expertise is sought are Europe, memory and exile and 20th century music) along with the scientific fields that are attracting much of the government support in Britain today.
Adam Tickell, Birmingham’s pro vice chancellor for research and knowledge transfer, said in an interview Monday that the positions would convert into the equivalent of associate professor positions (with tenure), and that he was confident of attracting an influx of talent worldwide. Birmingham is using reserve funds for the expansion, something Tickell said that the university is able to do because it does not have debt.
"I'm very aware that other universities aren't in a position to hire people right now, so we should be getting very good people interested," he said. "We're in a buyer's market in some respects."
Claude Steele, who left Stanford University to become provost of Columbia University two years ago, is returning to the Farm. Steele will become dean of Stanford's influential School of Education. While at Stanford, Steele's work in social psychology led to positions as Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.