Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 25, 2014

Many faculty members at Rutgers University at New Brunswick are upset that the university's board approved a plan to invite Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush, to be commencement speaker. Now faculty leaders are upset for a related reason: They asked for time at the next meeting of the Board of Governors to explain their opposition to Rice, and they were turned down. University officials say that they could have expressed their views at the meeting where Rice's selection was approved, but that they can't speak now. A university spokesman confirmed the decision via email, explaining it this way: "The bylaws of the Rutgers University Board of Governors set forth a process for speaking at meetings. Speakers are welcome to address any action items that are listed on the BOG agenda. The selection of Condoleezza Rice was on a previous (Feb. 4, 2014) agenda and approved by the Board of Governors."

March 25, 2014

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether Florida's Bright Futures scholarship program illegally discriminates against black and Latino students, The Miami Herald reported. The state scholarship program is based in part on SAT or ACT scores, and state lawmakers recently raised those score requirements. While legislators say that the standards are based on quality, critics note that, on average, black and Latino students' scores lag those of white and Asian students. OCR officials declined to discuss specifics, but said that the agency is “investigating allegations that the state of Florida utilizes criteria for determining eligibility for college scholarships that have the effect of discriminating against Latino and African-American students on the basis of national origin and race.”

 

March 25, 2014

Members of the faculty union at Portland State University filed a complaint Monday over a plan by administrators to cut off email access for professors who participate in a threatened strike, The Oregonian reported. The Portland State union has voted to authorize a strike if their leaders call for one, and administrators said they would cut off access to university email accounts for those who join. In their complaint to the state Employment Relations Board, union members said such an action would amount to illegal retaliation, the newspaper said.

March 25, 2014

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles -- in print-on-demand format -- about the globalization of higher education. The articles reflect long-term trends in the recruitment of foreign students, study abroad, internationalization of the curriculum, online education and more. The articles aren't today's breaking news, but reflect long-term trends and some of the forward-looking strategies that colleges are adopting. Download the booklet here.

This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Tuesday, April 15 at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman conducted a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles. To view the webinar, please click here.

 

 

March 25, 2014

The U.S. Education Department this morning formally published its proposed regulations requiring vocational programs at for-profit institutions and community colleges to show that they are preparing graduates for "gainful employment." The department previewed the rules this month, drawing criticism from those who thought they were unfairly tough and too weak alike.

March 25, 2014

A philosophy professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations was fired after writing an op-ed criticizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea as akin to Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria, Reuters reported. The institute, which is affiliated with the foreign ministry, said it had dismissed Andrei Zubov for criticizing Russian foreign policy: "Let the inappropriate and offensive historical analogies and characterizations lay on Zubov's conscience, the leadership of MGIMO view it as impossible for A.B. Zubov to continue working at the institute,” it said in a statement.

March 25, 2014

Federal student aid is not conducive to competency-based education, according to a new report, because the current system is designed to fund education that occurs within structured, discrete time periods. Mastering competencies, however, can happen outside of the credit-hour standard or through learning that lacks designated start and end dates. Stephen R. Porter, a professor of education at North Carolina State University, wrote the report, which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded. In the report Porter calls for "thoughtful experimentation" with federal aid programs to test the promise of competency-based education.

March 24, 2014

An associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara has been charged with theft, battery and vandalism stemming from an on-campus incident this month, the Santa Barbara Independent reported. Mireille Miller-Young allegedly took a sign belonging to a group of anti-abortion demonstrators, following a heated discussion about the graphic imagery on the protesters’ materials. Members of the group, which was not affiliated with the university, followed Miller-Young and several of her students to an elevator, where the professor allegedly scratched a 16-year-old demonstrator in the struggle for the sign that ensued. She allegedly later destroyed the sign. 

Miller-Young did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An arraignment is scheduled for April 4.

March 24, 2014

Luke Dzierzanowski lost an election to the student government at San Diego State University last week, but not before prompting a widespread debate over campaign tactics. Dzierzanowski posted a video to YouTube in which he appears in a suit, and four women in bikinis help him light a cigar, play around in a pool and bounce on a trampoline. He says nothing. The women close the video by saying that they are voting for him.

A column in The Daily Aztec, the student newspaper, said: "While I must commend Dzierzanowski for being the only memorable candidate, as I can’t even recall the other candidates’ names, the video makes him memorable for all the wrong reasons as a degrading, attention-grabbing gimmick. As it is now, San Diego State  already suffers from a negative party school image. Whether we like it or not, it’s an image that characterizes all Aztecs as binge-drinking sexual deviants. Despite our great academics and notable status as one of the top business schools, both the school and its students are haunted by this reputation."

In a comment on the column Dzierzanowski said that the point about the columnist not remembering the names of other candidates showed why the ad was appropriate. "Did you know that last year 18 percent of the student body voted for A.S. Elections? I think we can both agree that number is much lower than it should be," Dzierzanowski wrote. "The job of a representative is to represent the students and be their link to the faculty and administration. I believe in order to do that successfully, more than 18 percent of the school needs to know who you are. If you couldn't remember the other candidates names, who would you go to if you had a suggestion for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts? I understand that not everyone agrees with my commercial or likes it, but hopefully all PSFA Students remember it and remember my name."

For those seeking to judge for themselves, here is the ad.

 

 

March 24, 2014

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday that college coaches and athletics directors should be paid based on how well their players are performing in the classroom.

In an interview on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Duncan said he was concerned that too many athletes make money for their university but don’t end up earning degrees.

"The incentive structures for coaches, the incentive structures for ADs, have to be changed so much more of their compensation is based not upon wins or losses but around academic performance and graduation,” Duncan said. "University presidents and boards have been very complacent and soft on this issue, and you have to really look at the leadership of universities here."

Penalties for athletes performing poorly should not only hit the universities, but should apply to and follow coaches as well, he added.

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