Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 3:00am

A legislative panel in Texas released a first pass at a state budget for the next two years Tuesday night, threatening a bleak outlook for higher education and college students. With the state facing a deep deficit, the draft budget would end funding for four community colleges (Brazosport, Frank Phillips, Odessa and Ranger Colleges), cut hundreds of millions of dollars from public universities, and slash financial aid for freshmen and new students, the Associated Press reported. Over all, funds for higher education would face a 7.6 percent cut, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The chancellor of the State University of New York will propose in a speech today making campuses in the massive state system compete for some state funds to spur changes, the Associated Press reported. Details were skimpy on the performance-based funding proposal, which an unidentified SUNY official discussed with the AP in advance of Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher's first state of the university speech today, but the plan would begin to shift SUNY away from its traditional method of allocating state funds based on campuses' enrollment alone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Boston University has called off a planned study abroad program in Niger, following the kidnappings of two Frenchmen there, The Boston Globe reported. Fifteen students had been scheduled to travel to Niger for the spring semester.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Eugene Lang College of the New School has announced that it is now test-optional on admissions. Students who do not want to submit an SAT or ACT score may provide a graded paper with a teacher's comments.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Rutgers University has returned a Renaissance-era painting stolen by the Nazis to the grandson of the real owners, the Associated Press reported. The Jewish couple who owned "Portrait of a Young Man," a 1509 work by the German painter Hans Baldung Grien, made a deal to trade a group of paintings for their freedom, but the Nazis took the art and still sent the couple to death camps. A grandson tracked the painting to the art gallery at Rutgers, which had been given the painting by a dealer in 1959. Suzanne Delehanty, director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, said that when she learned the history of the painting, "we decided right away we wanted to do the right thing."

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate of South Carolina State University last week voted no confidence in President George Cooper, The Post and Courier reported. Faculty leaders cited significant financial problems, a lack of commitment to principles of shared governance and the absence of a vision for the future of the university. Cooper's lawyer told the newspaper that "Dr. Cooper takes the position that the Faculty Senate does not reflect the full faculty at South Carolina State University."

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

A University of Rochester undergraduate was stabbed fatally at a fraternity party and another student has been charged in the murder, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Authorities said that the two students had a disagreement that predated the party. Officials at California State University at Northridge, meanwhile, think they may have averted a tragedy with the arrest of a student found to have a shotgun and bomb-making materials in his dormitory room, Reuters reported. In another incident that could have been a tragedy, someone with a gun fired five shots into a glass door of a dormitory at Baker University, in Kansas, early Sunday morning, but students were not injured, The Kansas City Star reported. Authorities are investigating whether the former boyfriend of a resident of the dormitory is responsible.

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Nicolaus Ramos paid his tuition bill at the University of Colorado at Boulder in an unusual way -- with more than $14,000 in one-dollar bills, The Sacramento Bee reported. The idea behind this nearly 30-pound payment was to draw attention to the rising cost of higher education.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In a statement published in this week's issue of Science magazine, a group of biologists call on universities to embrace a set of policies that will encourage faculty members to pay as much attention to their teaching as to their research activities. The essay (for which a subscription is required to read the entire text), by scholars at 11 major universities, says that "[t]o establish an academic culture that encourages science faculty to be equally committed to their teaching and research missions, universities must more broadly and effectively recognize, reward, and support the efforts of researchers who are also excellent and dedicated teachers." It urges the adoption of a set of policies and practices -- including making more real the purported emphasis on teaching in tenure reviews, and increasing professors' training in the science of teaching and learning -- that could help change that picture.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The governing board of University College of the North, a Canadian institution committed to aboriginal students and cultures, decided not to renew the president's contract because she sided with academics concerned about a mandatory two-day course "traditions and change" course and because she hired two non-aboriginal senior administrators, The Winnipeg Free Press reported. Critics have said that the course is about promoting "white guilt," the newspaper reported, but the board has made it a requirement for all students and staff members. Denise Henning, the president, has since accepted as president of Northwest Community College, in British Columbia.

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