Higher Education Quick Takes
Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación, which is based in Santiago, Chile, and owned by a subsidiary of Apollo Group, Inc., may lose its accreditation. The National Accreditation Commission of Chile informed the college last week that its accreditation would not be renewed, according to an Apollo Group statement to investors. The college is seeking clarification about the pending action, and expects to appeal the decision.
Apollo, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, purchased the arts and communication university for at least $40 million in 2008. It has underperformed since then, posting an operating loss of $13 million last year.
More developments on Penn State:
- An article in The Wall Street Journal raises questions about the reputation of Joe Paterno for holding his football players to the highest of standards. The article details instances in which Paterno clashed with university officials who were trying to enforce conduct rules that apply to other students to football players as well. Paterno insisted that he -- not the regular authorities -- decide on athletes' punishment.
- Sales of hats, shirts and other clothing with the Pennsylvania State University name are down about 40 percent compared to this time period last year, the Associated Press reported. "This is the first time I can recall ever seeing a decline of sales right out of the box,'' said Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource Group. "I have never seen anything this before. But we've never seen a scandal quite like this before.''
The Center for American Progress released a report Monday that recommended a broader role for students on federal panels, including the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
The report, "Including More Student Voices In Higher Education Policymaking," noted that students' concerns have been widely broadcast through the Occupy movements' focus on student loan debt, but that many factors hold back student organizing, including a lack of institutional transparency, the growth of nontraditional students, and the lack of real on-campus power relative to administrators.
"Strong student voices in higher education policy could help to ensure that federal, state and institutional policy makers continue to direct their reforms toward the issues that matter most to students, including tuition prices, financial aid, and the quality of the courses they offer," the report's authors wrote.
Career Education Corporation on Monday disclosed that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has asked the for-profit higher education provider to demonstrate the adequacy of "administrative practices and controls relative to the company's reporting of placement rates." A recent review by an outside law firm found that some of the company's 49 health education and art and design schools did not have sufficient documentation to back up job placements, and that 13 failed to meet the accreditor's placement rate requirement. Career Education's president and CEO, Gary E. McCullough, resigned shortly after that news broke.
The company will present to the accreditor next month on the discrepancy, and "continues to take corrective action," according to the disclosure to investors. The accreditor released a statement about the matter this month, saying: "We are currently conducting an internal review of our processes for evaluating placement rates, including a review of data collected from site visits and audits of Career Education Corporation from the last few years, to determine why those problems were not detected.”
Clark University announced Monday that it will make the SAT or ACT optional for undergraduate admissions. Officials said that the decision followed a study by the faculty and the admissions office, which concluded that the university could make admissions decisions based on such factors as high school grades, rigor of the high school courses taken and extracurricular activities.
Indiana University on Monday formally returned a 15th century painting called "The Flagellation of Christ" to a Berlin museum from which it was stolen in the aftermath of World War II, the Associated Press reported. The painting was stolen by a British soldier and subsequently purchased from a gallery by Indiana's museum, with officials unaware that it was stolen.
The Utah Board of Regents on Friday voted to require all public colleges to have systems in place for period post-tenure reviews of faculty members, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy responds to complaints from some legislators who have sought to ban tenure.
Among new developments and articles of note on the Pennsylvania State University scandal:
- Rodney Erickson, who was named interim president last week when Graham Spanier stepped down, is no longer interim. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the board has removed the word "interim" from his title, and no longer plans to conduct a national search for a replacement for Spanier. A spokeswoman said: "Under normal circumstances a national search would be conducted over a period of a year or more, with the help of an executive search committee. Under our current situation, which is obviously unprecedented, the board has taken the action to name the president who they believe will lead us forward."
- Michael Bérubé, the Paterno Family Professor in Literature and director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about Joe Paterno's contributions to academic advances at the university (including creation of the chair Bérubé holds) and the need for a greater faculty role in decision-making such that "shared governance" becomes meaningful at the institution.
- The National Collegiate Athletic Association told Penn State officials last week that it would investigate whether the sex abuse scandal indicates a failure by the university to exercise "institutional control" over the sports program. While allegations of sexual abuse of children might seem outside the NCAA's normal purview of academic dishonesty and improper payments to players, Mark Emmert, the NCAA's president, noted in a letter to Erickson that the NCAA's rulebook contains a broad prohibition against unethical conduct, and cited a specific provision that campus officials must do more than just "avoid improper conduct or questionable acts." They have an "affirmative" obligation, too, the rulebook states; "[t]heir own moral values must be so certain and positive that those younger and more pliable will be influenced by a fine example."
At least seven additional people are expected to turn themselves in in a Long Island scandal in which some people are accused of paying others to take the SAT or ACT for them, The New York Times reported. An additional round of arrests in September sparked considerable debate about the adequacy of test-taking security.
Thirty-two American students were named Saturday as Rhodes Scholars. As is typically the case, many students who won attended elite private universities, with more than one winner each from Brown, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford Universities. But this year's winners also include two from the University of Washington and one each from California State University at Long Beach, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Kansas. The winners receive funds for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford.