Higher Education Quick Takes
Some faculty members at Texas Tech University are upset about a $500,000-a-year raise, to $2 million a year, for Tommy Tuberville, the head football coach, at a time when they are being told their salaries are frozen, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported. University officials have said that the $1.5 million annual salary Tuberville has been paid is below market rates, but that's not swaying some professors. “If that was me, I would have turned it down,” said Julian Spallholz, a faculty senator and human sciences professor, of the coach's raise. “I would have been embarrassed."
A new tool aims to help colleges catalog and present to their constituents the various steps they are undertaking to assess how (and how much) their students are learning. The "Transparency Framework" released this week by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment is designed to bring together in one place the various plans, assessment activities and evidence that a particular college or university is using to gauge student learning. The framework was established to respond, in part, to the disconnect the institute found in a report last year between how much assessment activity campus leaders said they were doing, and how much was visible to the public.
European universities, once seen as entirely supported by their governments, are already relying on diversified funding sources -- but want more flexibility to raise still more money from non-government sources. That is the conclusion of a report being released today by the European University Association. According to the report, public funding accounts for only 73 percent of university budgets, on average, and a majority of universities in Europe already receive more than 10 percent of revenue from sources other than their governments or tuition. While many universities want to raise more money from business contracts and philanthropy, they report that government regulations are often a barrier to doing so, the report says.
The London School of Economics and Political Science has cut its ties to the Libyan government, Times Higher Education reported. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, who has spoken out in favor of his father's rule, earned a Ph.D. at the university and donated £1.5 million (more than $2.4 million) in 2009, and gave a lecture at the university. The university has, in turn, given executive education programs in Libya. Given the government crackdown on protests there, the institution has "reconsidered" its links, according to a statement.
Republican legislators in Minnesota, newly in the majority, elected former colleagues to two seats on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and in the process ended a tradition of having organized labor represented in one seat on the board, The Pioneer Press reported. The Republicans said that the former legislators they selected will be outstanding regents. For 73 of the last 78 years, organized labor has had a representative on the board. In recent years, that person was Steven Hunter, secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Democrats and labor leaders have said that the tradition was an appropriate balance to the business leaders typically selected for university boards. "It's just plain wrong that working Minnesotans will no longer have a say in how the university is run," said Shar Knutson, president of the state AFL-CIO.
Barry H. Corey, president of Biola University, addressed some 3,000 students, faculty members and prospective students at a campus gathering Monday -- and decided to illustrate his point about running "the race of life" with a real race, against Natasha Miller, 8-time NAIA champion and 17-time NAIA All-American for indoor and outdoor track and field at Biola. Corey succeeded at illustrating his point, if not at winning the race.
California courts have cleared the way for a suit to go forward against Point Loma Nazarene University for allegedly placing a ministry student with a family nearly 30 years ago without telling the parents that the student had been convicted of child molestation, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. According to the suit, the ministry student had told the university of his conviction -- and he then went on to molest the family's 6-year-old daughter and 2-½-year-old son. The university has not commented on the allegations, but tried without success to get the suit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds.
A state legislator in Iowa has stopped pushing to advance his bill to force the University of Iowa to sell one of the masterpieces of modern art, Jackson Pollock's "Mural," The Des Moines Register reported. Arts advocates condemned the plan, even though it might have raised $150 million for scholarships. In recent days, the idea has also been rejected by the state's governor and prominent donors to the university. The work was donated to Iowa by Peggy Guggenheim, the noted art collector, who had many ties to Iowa's arts faculty in the 1940s and 1950s.
The University of Arizona will today announce that it will open a National Institute for Civil Discourse as a nonpartisan center to promote research, education and public programming about civility in public life, The Washington Post reported. The honorary chairs of the new center will be two former U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. The University of Arizona is in Tucson, where six people were killed and Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January.
Allegheny College is among the institutions already doing work in this area, sponsoring a survey and award to promote civility, and encouraging colleges to join the "Soapbox Alliance," a group of colleges and universities that refuse to let their facilities be used for closed political events.