Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, May 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Part-time faculty members in Taiwan are protesting their treatment at a time that universities are increasingly relying on them to teach, The Taipei Times reported. A petition delivered to the Ministry of Higher Education noted low wages, lack of pensions and other benefits, and the inability to apply for research and teaching support that is available to full-time faculty members. Further, they noted that there are no maternity leaves available for part-time instructors, effectively barring the women who lack full-time positions from becoming pregnant.

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am

University of California administrators announced Thursday that the system will centralize payroll and human resources for its 10 campuses and five medical centers at a new site in Riverside. The new center is part of a system-wide initiative designed to save $500 million in administrative costs and direct them back toward the university's academic mission. UC officials said the new center would save "as much as $100 million annually" and create up to 600 jobs when fully deployed, which they hope to be within three years. Part of the savings will come from eliminated positions on the individual campuses, but officials would not say how many people would be losing their jobs.

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am

At least 375 colleges have space available for fall 2012 enrollment of qualified freshmen or transfer students, according to this year's "space availability" survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. That represents a sharp increase over last year's figure of 279, and the prior year's 240. But there were several years starting in 2000 where the number of such colleges was over 330. The survey involves only four-year institutions. Of those reporting space available, 70 percent are private.

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am

Leaders of San Diego and Imperial County community colleges have publicly rebuked the University of California at San Diego for its plan to drop a longstanding transfer policy that guarantees admission to local community college students who take certain courses and maintain a high grade-point average. In a letter to Marye Anne Fox, the university's chancellor, an association representing the two-year colleges called the decision a "dramatic shift" that "communicates the message to our students and communities that UCSD is closing its doors to San Diego and Imperial County community college students." The university has cited budget and capacity problems as reasons behind the move. paul: worth making some sort of link to sjsu stuff? https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/11/san-jose-state-university... or are they too different? dl

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am

The Alliance Defense Fund, which represents the interests of religious students and faculty members, has sent letters to 40 public universities, and plans to soon contact another 120 about policies that the fund says are unconstitutional. The fund says that some of the colleges are violating the rights of students and faculty members by limiting student speech, by applying anti-bias rules to all student organizations, and by discriminating against religious student groups in allocating student fees. The fund has in the past been successful in some of its campaigns -- either through publicity or the courts. But the fund has also lost some court battles on these issues.

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Liz Erickson of the State University of New York at Canton reveals how the depiction of forensic science in television crime dramas has shaped jury expectations. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 4:28am

Butler University has agreed to resolve concerns about gender equity in athletics raised in a compliance review by the U.S. Department of Education. The university will either demonstrate that it is already meeting female athletic interests, or submit a plan to do so, under the agreement. The review found that Butler's student body is 59.6 percent female. In contrast, female athletes make up only 36.5 percent of Butler athletes, and women receive only 53.4 percent of athletic scholarships. The agreement with the Education Department "does not require or encourage the elimination of any university athletic teams and that it is seeking action from the university that does not involve the elimination of athletic opportunities. The agreement also states that nothing in the agreement requires Butler to cut the amounts of athletic scholarships it offers to either sex, and that any such cuts are discouraged," according to a department statement. (Note: The headline on this article has been changed to clarify that the review was not prompted by a complaint.)

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 4:32am

The University of Maine System is investigating hiring procedures in the wake of reports of the hiring of seven officials with political connections and backgrounds to high-ranking positions in the system, in some cases with waivers from standard requirements for broad searches, The Bangor Daily News reported. Officials at the system said that they were not prepared to say at this time that any of the hires were inappropriate, but that they agreed that a thorough review was needed.

 

Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 3:00am

Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against 13 people allegedly involved in the hazing death of the Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Eleven of the as-yet unnamed defendants face felony hazing charges, and prosecutors could file up to 20 more misdemeanor charges stemming from incidents involving different victims who were not seriously injured. Champion died after other students on the university’s famed marching band, long plagued by a culture of hazing, “punched, kicked and suffocated” him on a bus during a trip. Seven FAMU students have been charged in unrelated hazing incidents since Champion’s death. The state attorney said that in Champion’s case, he pursued only hazing charges because with the number of people involved, the burden of proof for homicide charges would have been difficult to meet. Even so, the Sentinel reported, the case could be difficult to prosecute because so many people were allegedly involved -- more than 20. Meanwhile, the university's own effort to address the hazing problem has run into obstacles, the Sentinel reported.

Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 3:00am

The California Faculty Association said Wednesday that its members had voted overwhelmingly to authorize two-day strikes at the 23 campuses of the California State University System if disputes with administrators over salaries and other issues are not resolved. Leaders of the CFA said that 95 percent of those who voted from April 21 to 27 endorsed the rolling strikes. The strikes, if they were to happen, would probably occur in the fall. The association represents about 24,000 faculty members, librarians, coaches and counselors in the Cal State system.

Contract negotiations have been under way for the last two years, and on Wednesday the association’s leaders called the process difficult and disappointing. The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations this week. When talks ended without an agreement in April, Gail Brooks, CSU Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, said she was disappointed, but added that “CSU remains committed to the negotiation process as the best way to resolve the issues that remain on the table.” Brooks said at the time that the CFA’s proposal, if implemented, would cost CSU about $244 million over the next two years.

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