With Minnesota facing a government shutdown because its political leaders are at odds over a budget plan, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has received assurances from Governor Mark Dayton that it will be able to remain open even if other agencies close their doors. Officials of the 32-college system, whose two- and four-year institutions enroll about 67,000 students in the summer, announced that the governor had assured them that the state's payroll office would provide enough services that the colleges -- funding the rest of their operations with funds from tuition and their own reserves -- would be able to stay open.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Harvard University is shifting the plans for its new science campus in Allston, The Boston Globe reported. While the new campus will still include a major facility for science and health researchers who currently are running out of space elsewhere at the university, a major emphasis of the new campus will be on corporate research. As many as 12 buildings are expected to be used by pharmaceutical, biotechnology and venture capital companies, adding an industry component to the project.
The government agency in Wales charged with deciding whether local universities have developed adequate plans for ensuring accessibility to low-income students beginning in 2012-13 has rejected all of the institutions' initial proposals, Times Higher Education reported. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales told 14 postsecondary institutions that their tuition plans, as currently constructed, "do not meet the necessary requirements." Several Welsh universities have proposed raising their tuitions to £9,000 under the new tuition regime there, which is similar to a controversial process now unfolding in Britain.
Critics of college trustees frequently accuse them of being isolated. The Board of Governors of Rutgers University on Wednesday literally built a wall to keep protesting students out of the room, The Star-Ledger reported. Board members said that they were unable to conduct business with rowdy protesting students in the audience.
A new organization -- the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education -- has been launched to defend the state's higher education system from a barrage of criticism, much of it from allies of Governor Rick Perry. The new group has prominent business, political and academic leaders (Democrats and Republicans) who question the ideas being put forward by the governor's allies (some of them on boards of regents). "The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education was necessitated by the strong belief that there is a right way to improve higher education and that there is a wrong way that could have long-term damaging effects on our institutions of higher learning, our state's economy and on our future," says an announcement on the group's website. "Current recommendations being floated -- from dramatically expanding enrollment while slashing tuition to separating research and teaching budgets, and seceding from a recognized and respected accreditation organization -- are decidedly the wrong way."
Britain is planning to cut the number of student visas it issues by 260,000 over the next five years, Times Higher Education reported. Government officials say that the changes are needed to end abuses of the system, but university officials said that the reductions would discourage enrollments from abroad, including the enrollment of full-paying students that the institutions want to attract in a period of steep budget cuts.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved last week the new bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree, which will be the first four-year degree to be offered at the state’s two-year colleges. The degree, which was proposed last year, is “designed to help place-bound adult learners obtain a bachelor’s degree in their communities.” Though it still requires accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and curriculum and policy development by UW Colleges faculty, system officials say the degree could be offered as early as fall 2012. Applied baccalaureate degrees are offered in 39 states, according to recent research.
Kudzu is out of control on Davidson College's paths and trails, and officials fear that the growth could lead to walkers or runners tripping. After various human and machine efforts failed to match the kudzu, the college has rented 30 goats, which have been tasked with eating the problem away, WCNC News reported. The college is spending $3,000 to rent the goats, which eat 12-18 pounds of kudzu a day.