Higher Education Quick Takes
Some eyebrows were raised recently when Vanderbilt University's Office of Religious Life sent faculty members a list of the holidays that some students might observe, and for which they might ask to reschedule exams or assignments. The Tennessean reported that the list included four holidays marked "Wicca/Pagan." Officials said that they didn't know how many students observe those holidays, and that the list was taken from one from the BBC. Asked how faculty members would know whether a student seeking a scheduling change really was observing a Wiccan or Pagan holiday, a spokeswoman said that the university relied on the honor system.
The University of Dayton has unveiled a new way to encourage people to apply for aid and to visit the campus. Anyone who visits the campus, applies for admission and completes a financial aid form will get four years of free textbooks, worth up to $4,000. "We want to help parents and students understand that from the very first day, a University of Dayton education is very rewarding," said a statement from Kathy McEuen Harmon, assistant vice president and dean of admission and financial aid. "Through this initiative, we want to underscore that a University of Dayton education is affordable and we are committed to helping families in very tangible ways."
Governor Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, wants his state's universities to rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Brownback spoke on the issue Wednesday at a meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents. He said that he was open to higher admissions standards as one way to rise in the rankings.
Half of all women who have graduated from a four-year college give the higher education system excellent or good marks for the value provided by the money spent by students and their families. But only 37 percent of male graduates agree. Those results come from a nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center. The study also found that women are more likely than men to say that their education helped them, both personally and intellectually.
An order of nuns has dismissed the president and the entire board of Our Lady of Holy Cross College, in Louisiana, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported. No reason was given for the dismissals, and board members said that they were surprised by their ouster.
Professors at West Virginia State University voted Tuesday, 67 to 15, that they have no confidence in President Hazo Carter, The Charleston Daily Mail reported. Carter has been president since 1987. Faculty members cited a lack of leadership, of responsiveness, and of good financial plans as reasons for their vote. The university hired a fund-raising consultant last year to plan for a campaign to raise $25.5 million, but learned that many would-be donors had major criticisms of the university and were not willing to donate large sums. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Carter said that the frustrations grew out of his long tenure as president. "What happens is that when a person is in one place for a long time, the longer you're someplace, the more often you have an opportunity to make decisions that some people don't like," he said. "Of course, that's fine, because that's what management is all about."
James Hupp has resigned as dean of a new dental school at East Carolina University, but will remain on the faculty, after a state audit criticized his travel expenses, The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., reported. The audit questioned "extensive" travel by administrators as the dental school -- which is about to start classes -- was created. In the United States, officials traveled to Kiawah Island, S.C., and Destin, Fla. There were also international trips to Germany and Switzerland.
Officials in Sri Lanka are offering land and tax breaks to recruit about 10 foreign universities to set up campuses there, The Asian Tribune reported. Officials expect campuses to be set up by a Thai university, Asian Institute of Technology, an Indian university, Manipal University, and others.