Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Colleges that offer online programs to students in multiple states have been told that if they do not show a "good faith" effort to comply with various state rules governing higher ed by the beginning of July, they could lose their eligibility for federal student aid. But according to an update to an earlier report on online regulation by the consulting firm Eduventures, colleges are still uncertain about exactly what they need to do before then to avoid running afoul of state regulators or federal watchdogs. The firm says distance education officials at various institutions it surveyed were scrambling to undertake "extreme measures," such as acquiring licensing in every state where they enroll students or ceasing operations in all but their home states.

State officials, meanwhile, have been reticent to update or rework their online licensing requirements, despite the fact that in many states the existing rules are "unclear," "patchily enforced," and archaic in light of the new normal of online education, Eduventures says. Only 14 states have updated or reformulated their policies, it says. For reasons not primarily connected to online regulation, a coalition of higher ed officials, led by the American Council on Education, has lobbied to extend the July 1 deadline, which is when numerous federal rules are scheduled to take effect.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Council of Learned Societies has started a new fellowship program that will place eight recent humanities Ph.D.s in paid positions (with health insurance) for two years in government agencies and nonprofit groups. The effort, funded with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed "to demonstrate that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

A regent of the University of Minnesota -- faced with a potential conflict of interest -- has opted to keep his position on the board and relinquish an $80,000-a-year job at the university's public policy school, The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported. Steve Sviggum, a former legislative leader in the state, joined the university's Board of Regents last month, soon after he took a post as a legislative fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The dual posts drew charges of a possible conflict of interest for Sviggum, who disputed the existence of a conflict but said his service to the university as a regent outweighed his interest in the job.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Colorado Board of Regents may vote this week on a plan to shut down a free-standing journalism program at the university's Boulder flagship and replace it with "journalism plus" in which students may earn a bachelor's degree in journalism, as long as they also complete another major, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Colorado's review of journalism education has attracted considerable interest and criticism from some journalism education advocates.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Arthur Fisher, a former construction project manager at Vassar College, and his wife have been charged with stealing $1.9 million from the college, The Journal News reported. College officials said that the money was taken over the course of several years. The Fishers have not indicated how they will plead to the felony grand larceny charge. Police officers said that when they searched the Fisher home, they found four late-model BMWs and one Ford F150 truck, three Rolex watches, 10 unregistered handguns, one military style .223-caliber rifle, and fraudulent law enforcement identification cards.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Maureen Maiocco of the State University of New York at Canton explains why children often benefit from thinking time, and why using time outs can be counterproductive. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

College and university governing boards must respect the central role of faculty and academic administrators in curricular and other academic matters, but trustees themselves are ultimately responsible for ensuring their institutions' educational quality, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges said in a statement released Monday. The document, released in conjunction with the group's annual meeting in Los Angeles, states: "While academic administrators and faculty members are responsible for setting learning goals, developing and offering academic courses and programs, and assessing the quality of those courses and programs, boards cannot delegate away their governance responsibilities for educational quality. The board’s responsibility in this area is to recognize and support faculty’s leadership in continuously improving academic programs and outcomes, while also holding them -- through institutional administrators -- accountable for educational quality."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The Council of Graduate Schools is today releasing a report on steps taken by universities, academic departments and other groups to improve graduate education in the year since the release of the council's study "The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States." The new report suggests that many universities have become more strategic about graduate education in the wake of the earlier report.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 3:00am

China has restored the University of Calgary to the country's list of accredited universities, a list that many Chinese students rely upon when deciding where to enroll, The Calgary Herald reported. The university disappeared from the list last year, following a visit to the campus by the Dalai Lama.

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 3:00am

A new alliance among Latin American nations is promoting an internationalization of higher education within the region as a counter to U.S. influence, Times Higher Education reported. The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (also known as the Alba alliance) includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. The alliance has been promoting universal, free higher education (sometimes drawing criticism from university leaders). Through the alliance, international student enrollments are rising in Cuba and Venezuela.

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