Higher Education Quick Takes
It would probably be a cheap joke to call it a mixed marriage -- but the Touro College and University System is announcing today that it is taking over control of New York Medical College from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Touro, which describes itself as "America’s largest, not-for-profit, independent institution of higher and professional education under Jewish auspices," will add the private health sciences institution in Westchester County, N.Y., to its mix of osteopathic medicine and pharmacy colleges. New York Medical College operates a medical school, a graduate school in basic medical sciences, and a School of Health Sciences and Practice. The institutions announced 18 months ago that they would affiliate; under the arrangement to be announced today, Touro will appoint a new board to operate New York Medical College.
Colleges in and around Joplin, Mo., were not among the sites hardest hit by this week's devastating tornadoes, but are playing a role in recovery efforts, raising money, operating as relief centers -- and also trying to verify the safety of their students and employees. An article in The Springfield News-Leader reviewed the efforts. These web pages describe efforts at Crowder College and Missouri Southern State University.
The Thiel Foundation is today announcing its inaugural class of fellows in an unusual program: $100,000 and mentorship for two years as long as the talented recipients agree to stay out of college. More than 400 people applied, and 24 fellowships are being awarded. The idea behind the program is that talented young entrepreneurs should set out to create businesses without waiting for formal education credentials.
Architecture faculty members at Tel Aviv University are angry over the design for a new wing of the architecture school, saying that the design doesn't work with the campus, Haaretz reported. Faculty members say that the university can't object to the design because the architect is also the donor.
The Connecticut Senate ended a Republican filibuster Tuesday and passed legislation that would let undocumented immigrants who attended and graduated from high schools in the state pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, The Hartford Courant reported. The House of Representatives has already passed the bill and Governor Dannel P. Malloy has said that he will sign it.
The board of the University of Vermont has ended the official volunteer role of Rachel Kahn-Fogel, wife of President Daniel Fogel, in fund-raising and other events, The Burlington Free Press reported. The move came amid an investigation into Kahn-Fogel's apparent pursuit of a personal relationship with a senior administrator at the university, Michael Schultz, associate vice president of development and alumni relations. Kahn-Fogel's interest in Schultz became known when Schultz's wife -- who is currently in divorce proceedings with him -- found unopened letters from Kahn-Fogel to Schultz. He acknowledged in the divorce proceedings that he had secured a post office box to receive the letters privately. Fogel released a statement in which he said that he supported the inquiry, and revealing (with his wife's permission) that "she has long been in treatment for serious mental health issues with which she has struggled throughout her life."
Schultz wrote his doctoral dissertation on issues related to the spouses of colleges and university presidents; Inside Higher Ed has quoted him about the subject and published an essay in which he offered advice to presidential spouses. One of his points: "A good reputation is hard to earn but easy to lose."
Fogel announced in March that he would step down as president next year, after 10 years in office.
A Louisiana legislative panel voted Tuesday to endorse a constitutional amendment that would consolidate several boards that govern the state's public colleges and universities into a single board of trustees, The Times-Picayune reported. The measure, which Governor Bobby Jindal has promoted, is one of several being considered in states around the country as they look to centralize decision making, cut costs, or both. A legislative leader in Rhode Island proposed this week that the state's separate boards for elementary/secondary education and higher education be combined into a single Board of Regents, according to The Providence Journal. And Connecticut lawmakers have been discussing a plan that would merge the Connecticut State University and Connecticut Community Colleges systems under a single board, excluding the University of Connecticut.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has agreed to make "fundamental changes" in the way its chapters operate, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit by the parents of a freshman at California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo who died while pledging in 2008, The Tribune News reported. Details of the settlement were not released. The student's death was attributed to the alcohol in his system. Some members of the fraternity started to drive him to the hospital, but returned to the fraternity house with the idea that he would sleep it off. He died that night.
The Illinois General Assembly is poised to pass legislation that would bar students at for-profit colleges in the state from receiving funds from the state's main need-based grant program. The measure, Senate Bill 1773, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate last month, but in a form that would have allowed funds to flow to students at for-profit institutions. But with lawmakers facing the need for cuts in the Monetary Award Program, leaders in the state House amended the legislation to say that the Illinois Student Aid Commission "may not make grants to applicants enrolled at for-profit institutions." "Shouldn't our priority be public higher education, which is distressed right now?" Rep. Dan Brady, a Republican legislator, told The News-Gazette of Springfield. Officials of for-profit colleges in the state said that should it pass the House and survive a conference committee with Illinois's Senate, the legislation would strip $25 million in grants from about 8,000 students. "The students at our schools depend on these funds to obtain their college educations, and without them, they are left with a lifetime of minimum wage jobs and a loss of hope for a better future," Lawrence Schumacher, president of Northwestern College, wrote in a letter to legislators.