Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

After a four-hour closed-door meeting Monday, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees put President Michael Hogan on notice, saying he needed to repair the relationship between the administration and the faculty. "We let him know that we thought we needed our people to change, or we needed change in our people," said the board's chairman, Christopher Kennedy, in a press conference after the meeting.

The board called Monday's meeting after an outbreak of criticism of Hogan, including a letter to the board from 130 endowed professors and department chairs at the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign. Kennedy said the board asked Hogan to lay out certain steps he will take to mend his relationship with the faculty and expand shared governance at the university. "We want to be part of a university where shared governance is fully embraced, where there is respectful dialogue between our senior leadership team, and where the faculty feels welcome and important," he said.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Sean Horan of DePaul University explains why affectionate behavior isn’t always what it seems. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 4:40am

Urban Meyer, head football coach at Ohio State University, has apologized to the university's gay alumni association for the practice -- which he said will be stopped -- of punishing athletes who have not been performing well by making them wear lavender jerseys, The Other Paper reported. Tim Valentine, president of the Ohio State University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni Society, praised the coach's decision. "Hidden under the guise of being a competitive motivator or 'the only color left,' the choice of lavender reinforces homophobia and promotes bullying amongst students. The color lavender is associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community,” Valentine said. Meyer said that the use of lavender "was never intended to be used to offend anybody.” He offered "sincere apologies" to the alumni group.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Corinthian Colleges Inc. announced in a corporate filing Monday that it would sell four Everest College campuses in California and also close three campuses in other states when currently enrolled students complete their studies. The four California campuses have struggled financially, according to the filing. Those campuses were among those that recently failed to meet a state threshold on student default rates. No buyer has yet emerged. The three campuses that have been targeted for closure, which are located in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, have not met the bar on student performance or financial health, the company said. Corinthian owns about 95 Everest campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has remained largely silent on higher education in the race so far, spoke briefly about his views on college tuition at a town hall in Ohio on Monday, The New York Times reported. He told a questioner who asked about high tuition that h doesn't intend to forgive student debt or direct government money toward students seeking a college education. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education," Romney told the student, according to the newspaper's report. "And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.

“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, is moderating his rhetoric in criticizing President Obama's call for all Americans to get at least one year of higher education. In several recent appearances, he called President Obama "a snob" for having that goal, and suggested that colleges are "indoctrination" units designed to make students liberal. A Fox News program Saturday indicated that the college-bashing may not be playing well. According to an account in The Los Angeles Times, an Ohio State University student told Santorum: "Your comments about Obama being a snob for wanting everyone to have the chance to go to college didn't really sit well with my campus." While not backing off his earlier statements, Santorum expressed support for everyone having the chance to go to college. Said Santorum: "His quote was, repeated often in the media, was that everybody should go to college. You see, there's something different than saying people should have the opportunity to go to college. That's fine. All my political career I've supported [that]. In fact, we do need a lot of people to go to college and get the education, and in some cases the training, that's necessary. But the idea that everybody should go to college -- again, it was this attitude: that we know better what's best for you."

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 4:25am

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Sunday scheduled an emergency meeting for today to talk about growing criticism of Michael Hogan, president of the system, The Chicago Tribune reported. A spokesman said that no action is expected at the meeting, but that board members want to talk about "issues that have been reported in the paper lately." Last week, 130 endowed professors and department chairs at the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign wrote to the board expressing a lack of confidence in Hogan. The president, brought in after an admissions scandal led to the departure of his predecessor, has been clashing with faculty members over his plans to centralize enrollment management. Further, his chief of staff resigned after being accused of sending anonymous e-mails seeking to influence faculty deliberations.


Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Donald Ratcliff, a professor of Christian education at Wheaton College, in Illinois, is being held on child pornography and weapons charges, The Chicago Tribune reported. Authorities said that Ratcliff was found to be trading in child pornography, including images of children younger than 13. Authorities also found two handguns and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in Ratcliff's possession. His lawyer said that the guns were family heirlooms, but declined to comment further. Wheaton has suspended Ratcliff.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Brown University's board on Friday named Christina Hull Paxson, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, as Brown's next president. She will take office July 1, succeeding Ruth Simmons. At Princeton, Paxson's scholarly work has been on the intersection of health care and economics. She came to Princeton in 1986, rising through the faculty ranks and leading the economics department as chair. Graduate students at the Woodrow Wilson School have given her five awards for teaching excellence.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 4:28am

A few colleges, the Associated Press reports, have an optional part of undergraduate applications: a letter of recommendation from a parent. Officials say that they get unique details that only a parent might know, and sometimes reflections on a child date back to the time the applicant was in utero.


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