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.
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.
The London School of Economics has clarified its ties to a controversial author, noting that she is not currently on the sociology faculty, Times Higher Education reported. Many have questioned how the London School of Economics could have a sociologist such as Catherine Hakim, whose book Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital has been criticized for suggesting that women advance themselves through erotic means. On the book jacket, Hakim is described as "senior research fellow of sociology" at the school, but officials there said Hakim has not been employed at the university since 2003.
Gallaudet University, which at various points in recent years has seen debates over whether it remains sufficiently committed to deaf culture, is having another such discussion. The Washington Post reported that the current tensions relate to an increase in the last four years, from 33 percent to 44 percent, in the percentage of undergraduates who were educated in mainstream public schools rather than schools for the deaf. Some of these students grew up with cochlear implants. There are now 102 such students, double the number in 2005.
Several hundred students at the University of Auckland occupied a floor of the business school there for several hours today, as student groups nationwide vowed to step up similar protests, over legislation headed toward passage in New Zealand's parliament. The legislation would end a requirement that all students at a university be members of that institution's student union, and leaders of the student unions say that the legislation is an attempt to reduce their power.
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).