Both houses of Connecticut's legislature on Friday passed a bill that would require public colleges to embed remedial education in credit-bearing courses, with extra tutoring and assistance for students who need remedial help. The bill had worried some in the state, who felt that abolishing all remedial classes would be unworkable, considering the learning deficiencies of some students. However, the State Senate included an amendment that would allow for one semester of standalone remediation, assuaging some concerns about the bill, which now goes to the state's governor for his consideration.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of California at Berkeley on Friday fired Diane Leite, formerly an assistant vice chancellor, who was demoted previously but not fired when word surfaced that she had helped triple the pay of her lover, also a Berkeley employee, The San Jose Mercury News reported. When the scandal first broke, many Berkeley faculty members expressed shock that she wasn't fired immediately. Leite did not return calls and her lawyer declined to comment.
Rutgers University charges its students nearly $1,000 each a year -- more than the charges at any other university -- to finance football, Bloomberg reported. The total comes from an analysis by the news service based on student fees and direct university funding for the football program. Officials at Rutgers have said for years that investments in athletics would pay for themselves in the end, but many faculty and student groups have charged that the university spends too much on athletics.
Sweet Briar College, faced with financial difficulties caused by lower than desired enrollment levels, is shrinking its faculty, and eliminating two majors, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported. The college has 605 students, but has room on campus for 750-800. Sweet Briar plans to cut the equivalent of 11 full-time faculty positions (though some of the cuts will be of part-timers), bringing the faculty size down to the equivalent of 85 full-time positions. The majors that will be eliminated are German and engineering management. Sweet Briar has been struggling with attracting more students since 2009.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Friday released a report detailing academic fraud in a scandal set off by a report about inappropriate treatment received by a football player, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The fraud involved inappropriate incidents in 50 classes, ranging from faculty members who didn't show up to unauthorized grade changes for students. Many of the questioned classes were taught by Julius Nyang’oro, former chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department. He resigned from the chair position in September. With the release of the report, the university announced that Nyang’oro is retiring on July 1. “Professor Nyang’oro offered to retire, and we agreed that was in the best interest of the department, the college and the university,” said Nancy Davis, associate vice chancellor for university relations.
Teacher education students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, with the support of some faculty members, are refusing to participate in a pilot project in which Stanford University and the education company Pearson are analyzing whether the students have demonstrated proficiency in their student teaching, The New York Times reported. Because UMass is participating in the project, the students were directed to submit two 10-minute videos of themselves teaching, and to take a 40-page take-home test to submit to Pearson. Some states are already planning to use that process as a key part of the credentialing of new teachers. Stanford officials said Pearson has provided key support for the project, which comes at a time that many have questioned the systems currently used by states. At other universities participating in the pilot, there have been no protests, Stanford officials said.
But the students and some professors at UMass say that faculty review of students over a six-month period is a much better way to measure teaching ability, and that good reviews can't be done by people who have never seen the students in person. And so they are refusing to send Pearson the required materials. "This is something complex and we don’t like seeing it taken out of human hands," Barbara Madeloni, who runs the university high school teacher training program, told the Times. "We are putting a stick in the gears."
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.
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.
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
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.