Betty White is becoming a community college professor -- of the fictional variety. The Los Angeles Times reported that she will guest star on the NBC show "Community," playing June Bauer, " an esteemed but slightly unhinged anthropology professor." The show was originally the cause of much concern among community college educators, but many have come around.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Michigan's medical school recently toughened its conflict of interest rules by barring pharmaceutical industry funding to support continuing medical education. That leaves some wondering why the university's president, Mary Sue Coleman, sits on the board of Johnson & Johnson, The Detroit Free Press reported. Coleman sees the situations as different, noting that she is not involved with the kinds of decisions at the medical school that could directly involve Johnson & Johnson's products. "It's essential that U-M have a voice and interact with the business world," a university spokesman told the Free Press. "She thinks it's her duty to understand what the commercial world is doing."
Wesley College, a small Mississippi institution, is closing, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. The college has about 140 students most semesters, and has been struggling with debt from a new dormitory and drops in donations.
The University of Toronto is closing its Center for Comparative Literature as part of a plan to save money and consolidate certain areas in the humanities, The Globe and Mail reported. While the university says that the changes reflect the way comparative literature has entered the academy broadly, negating the need for a free-standing center, many scholars disagree and argue that a key program is being lost.
When they're criticized for doing too little to measure how much and how well their students learn, colleges often complain that they don't get enough credit for the assessment activity in which they engage. A new report suggests that the institutions themselves are partially responsible for that gap. "Exploring the Landscape: What Institutional Websites Reveal About Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Activities," released by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, compared what campus provosts said their institutions were doing on assessment with the information about assessment that was available on the colleges' Web sites. “To the extent an institution’s website is a window into its performance, this study shows that schools need to do more to inform the public about what they are doing with regard to assessing student learning outcomes,” said George Kuh, the Indiana University professor who heads NILOA.
Twenty-seven colleges and universities have filed a brief with a federal appeals court backing the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in its dispute with a sports artist that the university says did not have the right to paint and sell images of Crimson Tide football games, The Tuscaloosa News reported. The universities include all Southeastern Conference members except Mississippi State University. Prominent backers from other conferences include the University of Notre Dame, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
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The Oregon State Board of Higher Education voted last week to ask state officials to give the Oregon University System more autonomy in return for certain accountability measures, The Oregonian reported. Under the plan, the universities would get more control over tuition, purchasing rules and budgets generally. But at the same time, the universities would have to commit to specific goals in enrollment, graduation rates, research and other measures.
Tennessee lawmakers are authorizing $15 million to stabilize a prepaid tuition program that was supposed to be self-sustaining but that is in danger of falling behind on its commitments, Nashville Public Radio reported. The bailout follows one in 2007 as the stock market started to decline.
Rev. Paul Leo Locatelli, who was for 20 years president of Santa Clara University, died Monday morning of pancreatic cancer. At the time of his death, he was secretary of higher education for the international Society of Jesus. Details about his life may be found here.