Many observers assumed that the shift away from federally guaranteed loans would deal a severe blow to Sallie Mae, but the company is bouncing back, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. By servicing older loans and moving into private lending, the company is having a strong 2011, with shares up 29 percent so far this year.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In December, ProPublica published an article revealing that many medical schools that had adopted tough conflict-of-interest rules to limit or require reporting of professors' ties to the pharmaceutical industry weren't enforcing their rules. That report and other scrutiny may be having an impact. ProPublica reported Thursday that Stanford University has taken disciplinary action against five medical school faculty members who violated rules there by giving paid speeches for drug companies. The University of Colorado medical school this week toughened its conflict-of-interest rules -- joining other medical schools that have increased attention to these issues.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, named a Tea Party activist to a student seat on the Texas A&M University Board of Regents, and bypassed the official system to do so, The Bryan/College Station Eagle reported. State regulations require the appointment of regents who applied through the student government, but Perry's choice applied directly to his office.
The University of Florida has withdrawn its directive to students at its study abroad program in Italy not to socialize with the "Jersey Shore" cast filming in the area, MSNBC reported. “Generally speaking, students may participate in activities outside their study abroad program, as long as they meet the academic and living requirements of that program," a spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, a University of Chicago student has won funding for a one-day academic conference on "Jersey Shore," The Huffington Post reported. "I think it's very important for academics not to restrict their work to so-called 'high culture,' but to seriously engage with popular culture as well," said the student, David Showalter.
Students from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education have started a sit-in outside the dean's office to protest the recent tenure denial of Mark Warren, The Boston Globe reported. Warren, whose research focuses on community organizing in the schools, is seen by the students as the latest of a series of tenure denials or departures of professors who are focused on social justice issues.
Academic staff members -- including non-tenure-track faculty -- have voted to unionize at the University of Wisconsin at Superior. The vote there was the latest in a series at Wisconsin campuses to unionize, despite the drive by Governor Scott Walker and legislative Republicans to end collective bargaining by system faculty members. The unions voted in at Superior and elsewhere in the system are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The vote at Superior was 89 to 5.
Scott Svonkin, a long-time political aide and union-supported school board member, appears to have defeated Lydia Gutierrez, a teacher whom some had labeled a Tea Party-like candidate, for a hotly contested seat on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees. The race was too close to call Tuesday night, but The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that an unofficial vote tally gave 52.3 percent to Svonkin and 47.7 percent to Gutierrez. The race closely resembled another community college trustee election in Montana, which took place earlier this month, in which the relative political conservatism of some of the candidates became an issue of much public debate. For instance, Svonkin called out Gutierrez in the Los Angeles race for her support of the state's recent ban on gay marriage. On the other side, Gutierrez argued that Svonkin was too close to the faculty union and too supportive of the status quo, given his political background.
Leaders of the Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday withdrew a proposal to merge Southern University at New Orleans and the University of New Orleans, The Times-Picayune reported. The measure apparently lacked the two-thirds support needed to pass. The proposal -- strongly backed by Governor Bobby Jindal -- has been strongly opposed by advocates of historically black Southern.