Higher Education Quick Takes
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College faculty members went on strike Friday. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, says that the college's contract offer would use a switch in the college calender to inappropriately increase faculty workloads, and would do so in ways that would hinder the ability of professors to educate students. A spokesman for the college said that courses were being taught as scheduled. The college posted a statement on its website saying that that it had an obligation to reject union demands "to pay somebody more for significantly less work."
Baylor and Brandeis Universities, both universities that have faced faculty-president conflicts and struggled to find the right balance for their religious ties, have turned corners, according to separate articles. The New York Times examines Kenneth Starr's performance at Baylor, where he is being called a "unifier." The Forward says that Frederick Lawrence has achieved "near rock star status" at Brandeis.
The White House and the U.S. Department of Labor are expected to announce the recipients of what is supposed to be the first round of grants -- worth a total of $500 million -- from the Trade Act Assistance Community College Career Training Program. The program, originally created in lieu of the American Graduation Initiative as part of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010, was unveiled by the Obama administration in January and heralded as "the largest investment in two-year institutions since the G.I. Bill." It is supposed to provide a total of $2 billion over four years.
The grants to be announced today are expected to be of between $2.5 million and $5 million for individual institutions and $2.5 million to $20 million for consortiums of colleges (the consortiums can include four-year institutions, but the lead partner must be a college that offers degrees or certificates of two years or less).
For several years now, groups that question affirmative action have organized bake sales to make their point -- sometimes attracting little attention and sometimes setting off widespread debate. Republican students at the University of California at Berkeley are planning a "diversity bake sale" for Tuesday, and they appear to be falling into the latter category. Postings by the Republicans on Facebook say that the event is to protest legislation -- currently before Governor Jerry Brown -- that would authorize the state's public universities to consider race in admissions decisions. (California voters banned such consideration in a referendum whose backers vow to challenge the legislation if Governor Brown signs the bill.) The Republican announcement of the bake sale states that a differential pricing system will allow for "equitable distribution of baked goods to our diverse student body." White people will be charged $2 per pastry, Asian people $1.50, Latinos $1, African Americans 75 cents, and Native Americans 25 cents. Women will be allowed to take 25 cents off their racial or ethnic price point. Comments posted on The Daily Californian's website show some people calling the bake sale racist, while others say it is humorous.
In today’s Academic Minute, Barbara Gold of Hamilton College reveals how Christians of the late Roman Empire created the modern concept of what it means to be a martyr. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The Common Application announced Thursday that it is planning a new online system for processing applications, and that it will expand its staff to handle the various technology functions, ending the practice of outsourcing such functions. More details will be announced in the months ahead, but the Common Application said that new features should be introduced as part of the process. The popular application system has grown significantly in recent years, and it also affirmed that it will keep as a key membership requirement that participating colleges use "holistic" admissions, involving subjective criteria such as essays and recommendations, not just data such as grades and test scores.
Weeks after a Pittsburgh-area businessman announced a $265 million donation to Carnegie Mellon University, the donor has pledged $125 million to the city's main public university. The University of Pittsburgh said Thursday that William S. Dietrich II, a former steel industry executive, would make the gift upon his death, and that the institution would rename its arts and sciences school for Dietrich's father.
College and school leaders in seven states have been chosen to work together in teams to ensure that the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English are implemented in the most effective ways. The states -- Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts,
Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin -- were chosen by the three groups that make up the College Readiness Partnership: the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The partnership hopes that the strategies identified by the seven state groups will serve as models for other states.
The Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University has endorsed the first-ever contract accord with the institution's new union for adjunct faculty members, AnnArbor.com reported. The union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, was formed last summer and represents about 800 part-time or contingent instructors. The members of the new EMU Federation of Teachers ratified the contract last week, and Eastern Michigan's board approved it Tuesday. “This affords the lecturers an important sense of stability,” Geoff Larcom, a university spokesman, told AnnArbor.com. “To get this deal done is significant, given it’s their first contract and given their extreme value of the students and the university.”