Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 17, 2012

Thousands of Hungarian students held rallies in Budapest last week to protest government plans to make most university students pay tuition, Reuters reported. Starting next year, the government plans to cut by two-thirds the number of students whose university education is subsidized by the government, forcing the others to pay tuition. Government officials say that they need to cut costs to deal with a national deficit, while students say that the government should be investing in the future leaders of the country.

 

December 17, 2012

Manoj Patankar has resigned as vice president for academic affairs at Saint Louis University, but his departure from the administration hasn't resolve tensions with faculty members and students who have been demanding his ouster and that of the Rev. Lawrence H. Biondi, the president, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Patankar's plans for a post-tenure review system that many faculty members viewed as the de facto elimination of tenure set off much of the current controversy, but many professors and students have other grievances about Father Biondi, whom they say has cut them off from meaningful roles in campus governance. Indeed the response of the Facebook group "SLU Students for No Confidence" was "This is only a small step, but a positive one. Our real grievances are with Father Biondi."

 

December 17, 2012

Purdue University announced Saturday that the compensation for its incoming president -- Mitchell E. Daniels, who is wrapping up his tenure as Indiana's governor -- will represent a reduction in spending. The previous president's total compensation was $555,000, including deferred compensation. Daniels is eligible to earn up to $546,000, but only with achievement of specific goals and without deferred compensation. His base pay will be $420,000 -- and he will be eligible to earn the rest by meeting specific goals related to student affordability, graduation and student achievement, strategic program development with demonstrated student outcomes in knowledge and understanding, philanthropic support, and faculty excellence and recognition. Keith Krach, board chair at Purdue, said it would be difficult for Daniels to meet the goals in all areas.

December 17, 2012

Two students have sued the University of Delaware in federal court, charging that the university is violating their First Amendment rights by barring them from selling T-shirts that say (similar to a taunt used on opposing athletic teams) "U can suck our D," The News Journal reported. The university maintains that its objection is based on trademark infringement, and not the content of the T-shirt.

 

December 17, 2012

Connecticut, Middlebury and Williams Colleges on Friday announced a new effort to diversify the faculties of liberal arts colleges. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is providing funds for the colleges to work with Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley to organize an annual event where students at 23 liberal arts colleges will learn about graduate school opportunities at research universities and careers for those who earn doctorates, create research internships at the two universities for under-represented students at the colleges, and create postdoctoral fellowships for new Ph.D.s at the universities to experience life at liberal arts colleges.

 

December 17, 2012

More than 30 years ago, Georgetown, Villanova and a group of other universities with Roman Catholic heritages and high-profile basketball programs reshaped the college sports landscape by banding together to form the Big East Conference, challenging the domination of the traditional powers like the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, and Pacific-10 Conferences. Saturday, having seen their influence erode as the Big East focused on building its football relevance, seven basketball-playing Catholic universities announced that they would head out on their own, probably forming a new league that could end up bearing the Big East name.

The leaders of the universities (DePaul, Marquette, Providence, St. John's and Seton Hall, in addition to Georgetown and Villanova) had watched with dismay in the middle of the last decade as the Big East expanded far beyond its Northeast base to add institutions (like the University of Miami and Virginia Tech) known far more for their football prowess than their basketball success. But when the latest round of football-driven conference realignment cranked up two years ago, other leagues picked away at Big East powers such as Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, leaving the Big East significantly vulnerable even as it added football-playing members from as far away as Louisiana and Idaho.

The departure of Georgetown and the others will further diminish the Big East's historical relevance as a basketball league, and could result in the conference needing a new name, as the departing Big East members -- whose new league could include institutions such as Butler and Xavier Universities, according to news reports -- could stake a claim to the Big East name.

December 17, 2012

The American Economic Association saw a 2.7 percent rise in the number of job announcements for Ph.D.s during 2012, continuing a pattern of recovery from sharp drops as the economic downturn started in 2008. Economics is a discipline where those with doctorates have long had considerable opportunities in the business and finance world, not just in academe. This year's numbers show a 5.7 percent increase for jobs in academe, and a 3.6 percent drop for nonacademic positions. As has been the case in recent years, the top field of specialization in job postings (by far) was mathematical and quantitative methods. That was followed by (in order) microeconomics, international economics and macroeconomics.

December 14, 2012

Student workers at the University of Toledo are objecting to a new rule that will require them to wear khaki pants and a blue shirt with the university logo while on the job, The Toledo Blade reported. University officials said that the uniform will promote professionalism, and that some of the opposition is based on incorrect information that the new rule applies to tutors. Students who are protesting the rule note that they would need to carry their uniforms with them and find a place to change if they don't want to wear the uniform all day. One student opposed to the new dress code told the Blade: “What they’ve told us is that the dress code will help prepare us for the future — yes, if we’re going to become a cashier at McDonald’s, or help people buy sneakers."

December 14, 2012

John Sperling, who founded the Apollo Group and its University of Phoenix in 1972, will retire as executive chairman of the company's board of directors at the end of this month, Apollo announced today. His son, Peter Sperling, will take over as the board's chairman.

December 14, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Elisabeth Blagrove of the University of Warwick reveals why shapes can influence how we perceive faces. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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