Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Under pressure from state lawmakers, the central administration of the State University of New York system backed off a plan to have one president oversee two campuses, though system administrators stressed that the decision would not keep the campuses from putting cost-saving administrative structures in place. The system announced in August that three pairs of campuses would share presidencies, part of a larger initiative designed to stimulate regional cost-saving initiatives. The announcement spurred particular backlash at one pair of institutions -- SUNY-Potsdam and SUNY-Canton -- and drove one state representative, whose district includes the campuses, to introduce a bill that would guarantee each campus had its own president.

The other two pairs will move ahead with unified presidencies. According to a resolution passed in November, the campuses, including Potsdam and Canton, have until July 15, 2012, to produce a report about how they will meet certain cost-savings goals. "Chancellor Zimpher and the SUNY Board of Trustees decided this was more important than allowing one hurdle to distract from our efforts to channel more funding to our academic courses, which has always been our goal, and remains our goal," said a spokesman for the chancellor's office. "There will still be a consolidation of the administrative structure at Canton and Potsdam."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 4:28am

The University of California at San Diego has agreed to expand library hours -- including 24/7 hours in the main library during finals week -- following student protests that involved taking over a closed library, NBC San Diego reported. University administrators responded to the building take-over in part by removing police officers from the scene, hoping to avoid confrontations that have been so controversial at the University of California's Berkeley and Davis campuses, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Students, while they were arguably occupying a space, tried to differentiate themselves from the Occupy movement. The students said they were focused on their need for room to study, and they said that they were "reclaiming," not "occupying" the library.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at Ocean County College are protesting a tenure denial they say was based on the professor involved living in another county, The Asbury Park Press reported. Maria Flynn, who was denied tenure despite outstanding reviews, said that she was told by President Jon H. Larson that he rejected her tenure bid because she lives elsewhere. Faculty leaders said that such a policy would violate college rules, and was inappropriate. Larson did not comment on whether he is considering residency in making tenure decisions.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Monica Ciobanu of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh examines the options newly formed governments have as they seek justice against deposed rulers. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

 

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:17am

Authorities in Vancouver continue to investigate an incident in which a student meeting at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in British Columbia, was interrupted by people who released substances believed to be pepper spray, and some students needed medical assistance, The Vancouver Sun reported. The meeting was being held to oust the student government, and the chemicals were released just before a quorum was reached.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:22am

Israel's Council for Higher Education has passed a series of reform proposals designed to assure higher levels of competence in English by university graduates, Ynet News reported. The changes raise the scores required in English on entrance requirements and also require more instruction in English while enrolled at universities.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:28am

Cardiff University, in Wales, is running a "free tuition for life" contest being compared to the "golden tickets" offered by the fictional Willy Wonka or the competitions of allegedly real "reality" television shows. The university will be unveiling a series of challenges that need to be completed, leading to a live challenge at the university. The winner will not be charged tuition for any program for the rest of his or her life -- and can enroll in an unlimited number of undergraduate and multiple graduate degree programs. Applicants must be from Britain or other European Union countries.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Fans of the University of Connecticut and others are debating a new practice there of asking those attending home football and basketball games to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag before the traditional playing of the national anthem, The New York Times reported. While some see the pledge as a welcome sign of patriotism and unity, others question a public university asking people to say anything with the words "under God" and note concerns for international athletes.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:00am

For-profit colleges have done a better job of being mindful about efficiency and effectiveness than their nonprofit peers, U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, who heads the House subcommittee on higher education, said during a panel discussion on Monday. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools hosted the event, which was on workforce training. Representative Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, also said the federal government has not scrutinized nonprofit colleges with the same vigor as for-profits, noting that "accountability hits the new kid on the block hardest."

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Who is headed to the White House today for the meeting with President Obama on college costs and productivity?

According to a representative of a higher education association, the group will include the leaders of three state university systems: Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York; Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System; and William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. Three more are drawn from public universities: Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County; and F. King Alexander, president of California State University at Long Beach. One is from a community college: Thomas Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College, the Indiana community college system.

And leaders of three very different private nonprofit colleges round out the list of presidents: Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University; Larry Shinn, president of Berea College; and Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University.

Jane Wellman, the founder and executive director of the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability, is also attending, as is Jamie Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation. Wellman and Merisotis testified Wednesday at a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on rising college prices. 

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