The parent company of competency-based New Charter University is today announcing that it has bought Patten University, a regionally accredited nonprofit institution in California. UniversityNow, Inc., which introduced New Charter as a low-cost higher education provider that awards credit for what students prove they know and can do, said in a news release that its purchase of Patten would allow it to offer four-year degrees for roughly $10,000. Patten has hired Janet Holmgren, the longtime president of Mills College, also in Oakland, as its president.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Bridgepoint Education announced today that the senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges had denied its bid for initial accreditation for Ashford University, the for-profit company's highest-profile institution. Ashford remains accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, but it had sought accreditation in the West -- where Bridgepoint is headquartered -- in part because of the Higher Learning Commission's increasingly chilly treatment of for-profit institutions.
Bridgepoint said that Ashford would both appeal the Western accreditor's decision and reapply for initial accreditation.
WASC's review of Ashford, which the accreditor is due to release later today, had been highly watched, especially because Congressional critics of the for-profit sector had sought to make fast-growing Ashford a poster child for how -- in their eyes -- some institutions have manipulated the accreditation system.
Details of why the Western accreditor denied Ashford's accreditation will be available later today. Follow Inside Higher Ed for continuing coverage.
Public universities' law school clinics are not covered by the state's open records law, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday, The Star-Ledger reported. The decision came in a suit by the developer of a mall who wanted access to records of groups working with a Rutgers University law clinic to block the mall's construction. Law clinic experts said that it would have been impossible for clinics to operate at public universities if all records could be obtained by groups in litigation with the clients represented by the clinics.
The University of Maine System announced Thursday that Selma Botman is leaving the presidency of the University of Southern Maine to work on international issues for the system. A majority of faculty members at Southern Maine voted no confidence in Botman in May, although university rules require a two-thirds majority of all faculty members (that was not met) for such a vote to count. Theodora Kalikow, who recently ended a widely praised tenure as president of the University of Maine at Farmington, will take over at Southern Maine on Tuesday.
WASHINGTION -- The housecleaning continues at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities -- but the newest addition to the senior management team of the for-profit-college group is a familiar name in higher ed policy circles. Sally Stroup, whose résumé includes a stint at the U.S. Education Department as well as a long career as a senior Congressional aide (plus time as a lobbyist for the Apollo Group), was named Thursday as executive vice president for government relations and legal counsel at the trade association. (She has since been senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Scantron Corp., a technology company.)
Stroup's political experience has all been with Republican politicians, and her appointment means that APSCU, within a year, will have undergone a partisan transformation in its top two spots. Stroup replaces Brian Moran, a former Democratic state delegate from Virginia and chair of the state Democratic Party, and the association's president and CEO, Steve Gunderson, a former Republican Congressman, replaced Harris Miller, a former U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia.
Students at Russia's Kazan University say that they were forced to sit for an exam for 23 hours, from 10 a.m. one day until 9 a.m. the next, without being permitted to leave for bathroom breaks, RIA Novosti reported. Like many Russian exams, the test was oral, and the students were forced to wait until the instructor -- who they said was drunk -- excused them. University officials have denied that the instructor was drunk.
In the United States, many lament that it takes students too long to graduate. In Germany, the School of Economics and Management in Essen is suing Marcel Pohl, for $3,772 that the institution lost in tuition revenue when he finished a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in 3 semesters, not the 11 that would have been expected, UPI reported. The university declined to comment. Pohl said, "When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true. Performance is supposed to be worth something."
Syracuse University on Thursday released the results of an independent investigation into how the institution responded to 2005 allegations that Bernie Fine, then an assistant basketball coach, had sexually abused a boy from around the time the child was 12 -- and the new report faulted some aspects of the university's 2005 response. That year as well, the university sought outside legal help, and that inquiry found that the allegations could not be substantiated.
The report released Thursday did not dispute that finding. But it raised questions about Syracuse's handling of the incident. The university's summary of the new report says that it "concludes that when viewed in hindsight, the process was imperfect, and some of the judgments made could have been better. Among other things, the report notes that the university should have made direct contact with law enforcement; that the university’s counsel should have alerted the chancellor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Laurie Fine, Bernie Fine’s wife; and that the Board of Trustees (or some components thereof) should have been informed of the allegations."
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has placed Kean University on probation, citing questions about whether the university is adequately measuring student learning, and whether there is an atmosphere that promotes respect among students, faculty members and administrators, The Star-Ledger reported. Dawood Farahi, the president, and Ada Morell, the board president, issued a statement blasting the accreditor, accusing it of carrying out a "staff-driven agenda" designed to hurt the university's reputation.