Higher Education Quick Takes
About 43,000 Americans are enrolled in degree programs outside the United States, with a plurality (44 percent) pursuing master's degrees, 39 percent seeking undergraduate diplomas, and 17 percent in doctoral programs, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute for International Education. The report, a supplement to the institute's annual Open Doors report on the flow of students into and out of the United States, was done in conjunction with Project Atlas. The leading fields for degree study were the humanities, social sciences, and business and management, and Britain was the top destination.
An Iowa State University professor whose class on applying Biblical principles to business was canceled now says he disagrees with parts of a controversial textbook he planned to use. That book was among the reasons faculty members cited when protesting the course, saying it was inappropriately religious for a public university.
Professor Roger Stover, who declined to speak with Inside Higher Ed for the initial story, wrote Wednesday that his class was to be “a critical evaluation of a popular book’s prescriptions.” The text, Dave Anderson’s How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK: A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business, at one point advises Christians not to go into business with nonbelievers.
In a statement released to Inside Higher Ed Wednesday evening, Stover called that an “extreme recommendation." Stover added that “I professionally disagree with much of the book’s recommendation on borrowing money.”
The professor said he planned to focus his one-credit, independent study class on chapters like “Four Mandates to Maximize Your Time” and “How to Lead Through a Crisis.”
“This was a proposed business management class,” Stover wrote. “These are hardly theological issues – they are management issues.”
Stover’s course was called off after three Iowa State faculty members campaigned against it, saying it violated the separation of church and state. An award-winning finance professor, Stover has been on Iowa State’s faculty since 1979. He said suggestions that he designed the class to preach to students are unfounded.
“My intention was to have the students study academic management literature on the topics of the book and use that background to evaluate whether the author’s suggestions have any merit,” Stover wrote. “This form of inquiry is what business school faculty do all the time. Given the growth of interest in the role of spirituality in business management, our students may well be exposed to this in their career. I feel it is incumbent on us to prepare them for such exposure.”
Senior University of California administrators are expressing interest in a radical proposal to change tuition policy, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The idea is to replace tuition with a commitment by students to pay 5 percent of their income back to the university for 20 years after graduation. The plan came from Fix UC, a group of students at the Riverside campus. They have presented administrators with data showing that the plan could provide sufficient revenue to the university without creating burdens on current students, and while keeping repayment requirements affordable. Mark Yudof, the university system president, called the plan "constructive," and said he has asked system officials to analyze it.
Just a year after being hired to teach history at West Georgia College, an ambitious Newt Gingrich applied to be president of the public institution, the Wall Street Journal reports in an article that examines the paper trail that the political candidate left behind at what is now called the University of West Georgia. The newspaper's review finds that the chairman of the history department at Tulane, where Gingrich got his doctorate, described him to West Georgia as having a "single-minded purpose in life: to become a fine teacher-scholar." The college hired him at an annual salary of $9,700.
After his unsuccessful bid for the presidency, which drew "a chuckle" from administrators, according to one observer quoted by the Journal, he and a colleague created an "Institute for Directed Change and Renewal," which sought to help public schools modernize their operations. He undertook three unsuccessful campaigns for Congress while at West Georgia, before leaving the college in 1977 after being denied tenure. He was elected to Congress the next year.
Enrollment in professional science master's programs increased by 15.4 percent in 2011, according to data released today by the Council of Graduate Schools. The enrollments are highest in computational sciences, biology/biotechnology, environmental sciences and mathematics and statistics.
Ward Connerly, a national leader of the fight to end the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions, is being accused of mismanaging the group he created for this effort, The New York Times reported. The critic is Jennifer Gratz, who shares Connerly's views on affirmative action and was the named plaintiff in a suit challenging the consideration of race at the University of Michigan. After the suit, Gratz worked for Connerly. She is accusing him of misusing funds sent to advance his work, paying himself a large salary rather than devoting funds to his cause. Connerly called Gratz a "disgruntled former employee" trying to "besmirch me personally."
The American Association of University Professors last week sent a letter to the City University of New York chancellor and board chair, citing concerns about the “Pathways to Degree Completion Initiative,” a move by CUNY to enable smoother transfer for its community college students to CUNY's four-year institutions. The initiative was approved by CUNY’s Board of Trustees in June 2011. In the letter, the AAUP said that faculty members had complained about the new framework for the transfer of credits between CUNY’s 19 undergraduate colleges and the way these changes were adopted by “an administration-appointed Task Force and its associated committees,” bypassing elected faculty bodies. The faculty members have also complained about the soundness of the initiative itself and the consequences for academic freedom. (Some faculty members at community colleges have backed the changes, saying that they were necessary to help their students.)
Jay Hershenson, senior vice chancellor for university relations at CUNY, said the process had been a struggle, but that the initiative would raise quality and increase accountability. “CUNY’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the Pathways Initiative after extensive consultation, hearings, and meetings. Hundreds of faculty have participated in the curricula development process and CUNY’s elected student leadership hailed the reforms as long overdue,” he said.
The union trying to organize research assistants at the University of Michigan will hold a press conference today at which it will charge that a graduate student lost funding and was kicked out of her program for being involved in the union, The Detroit Free Press reported. The student will share an e-mail she received from a faculty member saying "I realize you have other things going on but an increased [sic] in your focus on research is urgently needed.... This will probably require you to decrease your involvement in non-research [activity]." Because the student says her only non-research activity was the union, the union says this was an inappropriate order to stop involvement in the union. A university spokesman denied the allegation, saying that "this is an academic matter. While we are precluded by law from discussing publicly a student's academic record, we believe certain of the union's factual claims are unfounded."