Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Canada's York University is scrambling to replace bus advertisements that were supposed to say "This Is Engineering," The Star reported. Instead the ads say, to the embarrassment of York, "This Is Enginering."

Friday, September 25, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Ann Collier, assistant professor of clinical psychology at Northern Arizona University, describes the merits of creating something to escape stress. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:21am

Robert Breuder, president of the College of DuPage, is already on leave and could lose his job over criticism of his spending decisions. Now The Chicago Tribune has uncovered a relatively small spending decision compared to others, but one that critics say symbolizes what was wrong about his leadership. After DuPage, a community college outside Chicago, spent $24 million to upgrade a fitness facility, Breuder had a family changing room converted to a private locker room available only to him and to two other senior administrators. Documents obtained by the Tribune show that this was a priority item for Breuder, who declined to comment. A sign outside the locked room says "Authorized Personnel Only."

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 3:00am

The laptop continues to be the go-to device for students, whether for educational or personal use, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll and sponsored by Pearson. The 2015 Student Mobile Device Survey found 54 percent of surveyed students said they learn best on a laptop, and 48 percent said they enjoyed their laptop the most out of all the devices they own. Tablets placed second on both questions, with 16 and 21 percent, respectively. Tablet ownership also posted the only statistically significant growth from 2014, increasing from 45 to 52 percent this year. Harris Poll surveyed 1,211 college and graduate school students earlier this year. The full report is available through Pearson.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School rescinded a speaking invitation to a Palestinian rights activist after he received death threats and a Jewish organization raised concerns over his past statements, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.

The Reverend Graylan Hagler, a senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, said he didn’t ask for the additional security that Colgate Rochester insisted it would need, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester said its officials did not specifically ask that the event be canceled.

Still, “after certain concerning facts came to light,” Colgate Rochester President Marvin McMickle said in a statement, the college is “no longer prepared to allow this lecture to take place.”

Among the items brought to the college’s attention: this video of Hagler speaking at a rally and a call, attributed to Hagler, to “dismantle the state of Israel.” (More collected here by the organization Roc4Israel before Colgate Rochester's decision.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:28am

The Faculty Assembly of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa on Wednesday voted to censure J. Bruce Harreld, the incoming president who was selected by the Iowa Board of Regents over the objections of faculty groups. While other faculty bodies have condemned the Board of Regents, this is the first faculty vote censuring Harreld. The vote was over discrepancies in his résumé that his supporters have dismissed as minor issues.

The resolution states: "Whereas the University of Iowa holds all members of the campus community to the highest ethical standards; whereas it is our academic duty to teach and model the highest ethical standards to our students; whereas professional ethics and responsibility in any field require accurate and honest self-presentation on a résumé; whereas incoming President Harreld’s résumé inaccurately claimed the position of managing principal of a company, Executing Strategy, LLC Avon, Colorado, that does not exist; whereas Incoming President Harreld’s résumé fails to cite co-authors for nine of 12 items listed as his publications (as prohibited in University of Iowa Operations Manual Section II.27.10.e Violation 1); the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty Assembly censures incoming President Harreld for his failure of professional ethics."

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 3:00am

Deb Bushway, the interim associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, has joined the U.S. Department of Education as an adviser to Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the department said Wednesday. Bushway will focus on innovation in higher education during her post, which is temporary.

The role appears similar to one recently vacated by Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University. LeBlanc spent three months as an unpaid adviser to Mitchell. His focus included two experimental sites projects -- on competency-based education and on partnerships between traditional institutions and noncollege providers, including boot camps, online course providers and corporate training entities. The experiments waive some requirements for participation in federal aid programs. The department this week said it will release further guidance for the competency-based education one, and the feds plan to announce the alternative provider project soon.

Bushway is an expert on competency-based education. Prior to arriving at Wisconsin, where she has worked on a direct-assessment competency-based education program that does not rely on the credit-hour standard, Bushway worked as chief academic officer and vice president of academic innovation at Capella University. She helped develop the direct-assessment degree tracks at Capella, a for-profit chain. Bushway also previously worked at Minnesota's Metropolitan State University.

"Having an experienced, respected practitioner voice at the table when policy is being made is enormously helpful," LeBlanc said in a written statement. "Deb can bring institutional realities to bear in ways that help the department and those it regulates."

The department in the past has tapped officials who work at colleges as temporary advisers. In 2012 Karen Gross, who was then president of Southern Vermont College, served in a similar role at the department. Even so, some critics said LeBlanc's appointment raised at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, because Southern New Hampshire was among the first institutions to start a competency-based program.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:20am

The Carnegie Corporation of New York today is announcing four college and university presidents who are winners of this year's Academic Leadership Award, which provides $500,000 to each winner's institution to carry out their academic initiatives. The prize is unusual in that it honors presidential leadership with a substantial cash award. The winners for 2015 are:

  • Ronald J. Daniels of Johns Hopkins University
  • Patricia A. McGuire of Trinity Washington University
  • Diana Natalicio of the University of Texas at El Paso
  • C. L. Max Nikias of the University of Southern California
Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:12am

Iranian authorities have given permission for five Americans to enroll in a master's program at Tehran University, a move being hailed in Iran as a breakthrough that might not have been possible without the recent lessening of tensions between Iran and the United States, The Christian Science Monitor reported. The students are enrolled in a program in Iranian studies. Three other Americans are enrolled in a Persian language program.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 3:00am

The Commission on Presidential Debates Wednesday announced the 2016 general election debate schedule. The three presidential and one vice presidential debates will all be held at universities. They are:

  • The first presidential debate on Monday, Sept. 26, at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio.
  • The one and only vice presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Longwood University, in Farmville, Va.
  • The second presidential debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • The third presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the University of Nevada of Las Vegas, in Nevada.

Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will serve as the backup site. More information on format and selection criteria is forthcoming, and the commission will announce the moderators in 2016.


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