Higher Education Quick Takes
Rhode Island's Board of Governors for Higher Education on Monday approved a policy allowing some students without legal documentation to live in the United States to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges and universities, the Associated Press reported. To be eligible under the new policy, students must have attended a high school in the state for at least three years and graduated, and must pledge to seek legal status as soon as they are eligible to do so.
Achieving the Dream today added 23 community colleges to its list of 52 "leader colleges." Colleges get the nod for improved graduation rates, closed achievement gaps and "changing lives," according to the nonprofit group, which works with 160 institutions on "evidence-based, student-centered" reforms in the community college sector. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas was one of the colleges to earn the leader college distinction, due in part to bulked up remedial education coursework that increased the college's three-year graduation or certificate completion rate to 24 percent from 10 percent over a four-year period.
While many colleges won't sell alcoholic energy drinks, the University of New Hampshire is considering a ban on non-alcoholic energy drinks such as Full Throttle and Red Bull, the Associated Press reported. In fact, the university announced a ban on the sale of such products Monday, but backtracked later in the day and said it would study the idea further before imposing a ban. (This updates an earlier version of this item, based on the reported ban.) "The University of New Hampshire is committed to making its campus the healthiest in the country," Rick MacDonald, assistant director of dining at the university, said when explaining the idea behind the ban.
The Delegate Assembly of the United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, has adopted a package of measures designed to promote the interests of non-tenure-track faculty members. The UUP, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, pledged to adopt a system in which adjuncts who go on and off payroll can remain members of the union. Further, each campus chapter will have an officer focused on contingent issues, and at least one spot on the statewide union's executive board will be held by someone off the tenure track.
Jane Sanders resigned Monday as president of Burlington College, citing unspecified differences with the college's board, The Burlington Free Press reported. Speculation about her departure has been rampant since the disclosure of a board agenda with an item labeled "removal of the president."
Almost half of undergraduate programs at public colleges and universities in Texas are in danger of being eliminated because they do not meet a new state requirement of graduating at least 25 students every five years, UPI reported. Many physics programs nationally do not graduate large numbers of undergraduates, but are considered vital nonetheless because of the role of the discipline in preparing students for a variety of science and engineering related fields, and because of the significance of research in physics. A delegation from the American Physical Society recently met with officials of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to discuss concerns about enforcing the rule with regard to physics. Raymund Paredes, the Texas commissioner of higher education, said he would not back exceptions to the rule. "In this budgetary environment, we can't afford the luxury of programs not producing graduates," he told UPI. "It's up to academic departments faced with closure of programs to salvage them."
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.
Faculty members at the University of Rhode Island are demanding an investigation into the unexpected resignation of Andrew Winters, who was assistant to the vice president of student affairs, and whether his departure has to do with his work advising a gay student group, The Providence Journal reported. The student group held a sit-in to protest what it considered inadequate efforts to support gay students on the campus in February, and many students and faculty members praised the group for focusing attention on the issue. But Winters received a reprimand shortly after the incident, leading to the questions about his departure. The university said that he retired, and denied that he was forced out.