Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 11, 2012

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has voted to strip Mountain State University of accreditation. The action, if not reversed or successfully appealed, would make students at the West Virginia university ineligible for federal student aid, potentially making it impossible for the institution to function. A statement by the Higher Learning Commission identified numerous, serious violations of the commission's standards. The commission said that Mountain State doesn't meet the requirement that an "institution operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students," and fails to meet a requirement that "the institution’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.” For instance, the commission found that Mountain State "has not planned realistically to address challenges ... [and] lacks adequate human and financial resources to fulfill its mission."

Mountain State's board issued a statement vowing to appeal the decision. "We are surprised because the report ignores the significant progress that has been made since the Higher Learning Commission notified the University of its concerns a year ago. Major changes have been undertaken in all of the areas of concern that were cited by the Higher Learning Commission and significant progress has been demonstrated in implementing these changes," said the board statement.

 

July 10, 2012

Pennsylvania State University fund-raisers took in $208 million in the 2011-12 academic year, the second-most in institutional history, despite spending much of the year wracked in intense controversy related to child sexual abuse charges against a longtime football coach, the Centre Daily Times reported. But pledges and other measures of long-term giving were down, the newspaper reported.

July 10, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Cynthia Ebinger of the University of Rochester explains the connection between earthquakes, volcanism, and the changing thickness of the Earth’s tectonic plates. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

July 10, 2012

Adjunct instructors are getting some help (rhetorically, at least) from the country’s largest education union. The National Education Association’s Representative Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to ask the Department of Labor to help cut "them"adjuncts get unemployment benefits. The union will ask the department to issue an advisory letter saying that adjuncts lack “reasonable assurance” of work, and are eligible to collect unemployment benefits when out of work.

Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty Majority, said that adjuncts struggle to get unemployment benefits during the summer months when they are not teaching, and that universities often contest their claims by saying they have a chance of getting rehired. Even if the letter is issued, though, it would be non-binding. “But it is something that individual adjuncts can use as they are making their claim,” Maisto said.

July 10, 2012

A year after the British government essentially tripled tuitions, applications for university spots fell by nearly 9 percent in Britain and by 10 percent in England, Times Higher Education reported. Applications from students of traditional college age fell less sharply than did those from older students, and government officials played down the impact of the dip; “the proportion of English school-leavers applying to university is the second highest on record and people are still applying,” David Willetts, the universities and science minister, told the newspaper. But others said the decrease was the predictable result of the dramatic change in government policy.

July 9, 2012

Vienna Medical University is taking some criticism (particularly from men) for a policy that favors female applicants. The Associated Press reported that the university adjusts admissions test scores -- which determine admission -- based on the average scores for men and women. Since women score lower, on average, than do men, a score by a female applicant counts for more than the exact same score by a man. For instance, in the case of a man and woman both scoring 130, the woman's test grade would be 117.7 and the man's would be 114.8 because the average score for women on the exam is 97 and the average score for males is 102. Some women have joined men in questioning the policy, saying that they fear they will be seen as "quota women."

 

July 9, 2012
  • Jane E. Clark, professor of kinesiology at the University of Maryland at College Park, has been named dean of the School of Public Health there.
  • Tom Gattis, associate vice president for academics at the Hong Kong campus of Savannah College of Art & Design, has been named chair of industrial design at Columbus College of Art & Design.
  • Kenneth C. Gotsch, CFO/vice chancellor of finance at City Colleges of Chicago, has been chosen as CFO at Columbia College Chicago.
  • Sheila Dove Jones, interim director of the Office of Planning and Assessment at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has been promoted to the job on a permanent basis.
  • Lori A. Lewis, vice president for advancement at Marietta College, in Ohio, has been selected as vice president for institutional advancement at McDaniel College, in Maryland.
  • Sylvia Spears, assistant vice president for academic initiatives at New England College, in New Hampshire, has been appointed as vice president for diversity and inclusion at at Emerson College, in Massachusetts.

The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes and promotions, please click here.

July 9, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Greg Wilson of the University of Washington reveals how a slight change in tooth shape allowed early mammals to compete in a world dominated by dinosaurs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 9, 2012

In this month's edition of The Pulse podcast, Rod Murray discusses how to manage your social media portfolio with the help of "If This Then That," as well as Apple's new podcast app. The Pulse is Inside Higher Ed's monthly technology podcast, produced by Murray, executive director of the office of academic technology at University of the Sciences. Find out more about The Pulse here.

July 9, 2012

The parent company of competency-based New Charter University is today announcing that it has bought Patten University, a regionally accredited nonprofit institution in California. UniversityNow, Inc., which introduced New Charter as a low-cost higher education provider that awards credit for what students prove they know and can do, said in a news release that its purchase of Patten would allow it to offer four-year degrees for roughly $10,000. Patten has hired Janet Holmgren, the longtime president of Mills College, also in Oakland, as its president.

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