Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 30, 2013

WASHINGTON —  A panel discussion at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's annual conference here Tuesday highlighted differences between Senate Democrats and House Republicans as the deadline for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act looms at the end of the year. While many don't expect the reauthorization will be done on time, and perhaps will not be finished during this Congress, the panel highlighted a key divide between the parties: House Republicans, represented on the panel by Amy Jones, education policy counsel to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, favor some consumer disclosures from colleges but fewer mandates and regulations. Senate Democrats, represented by Spiros Protopsaltis, senior education policy adviser to the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, are seeking metrics to judge college's value. They emphasized to accreditors that many on Capitol Hill don't understand accreditation or understand its value — a key concern since reauthorization is expected to touch on accreditation and related issues.

January 29, 2013

A blueprint for an eventual overhaul of the nation's immigration system, announced Monday by a bipartisan group of eight senators, would ease the path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants and award green cards to foreign students who graduate with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The plan calls for a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, and those brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age -- would-be beneficiaries of the DREAM Act -- would face fewer hurdles. The plan also calls for increased enforcement, and stipulates those measures would need to be put in place before undocumented immigrants could receive green cards. 

January 29, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Peter McGraw of the University of Colorado at Boulder explores what makes jokes about tragic events too soon. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

January 29, 2013

College and university fund-raisers predict that giving to their institutions grew by an average of 5.5 percent in 2012, according to a twice-annual survey by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. If that prediction holds true, giving for 2012 would be higher than the $31.6 billion record high for the 2007-8 academic year. Fund-raisers also predict giving to grow by 5.8 percent in 2013, a rate equal to the average over the past 20 years.

January 29, 2013

The new chancellor of California's community colleges, Brice W. Harris, has written in opposition to a legal challenge to the system's shared governance structure. California Competes, a nonprofit group led by Robert Shireman, says local academic senates have illegal veto power over board actions, which contributes to a "tangled bureaucracy." Harris, however, said the shared governance regulations are lawful and good public policy. And while he said the group's intentions are well-meaning, they are "seriously flawed."

January 29, 2013

The Board of Trustees at Cedarville University, a Baptist college in Ohio recently shaken by intradenominational arguments and the resignation of two administrators, voted Friday to cut the college's philosophy major and to approve the unexplained resignation of its vice president for student life. The college said the major needed to be cut due to low student interest, and that a philosophy minor will remain an option; students and alumni argued that eliminating the major damages the college's credibility as a liberal arts institution.

“The last few weeks have been difficult for our university family,” the college's acting president, John Gredy, said in a statement announcing the change. “Please join me in praying that God will bring healing to our brokenness, peace to our hearts and unity to our community.” 

January 29, 2013

The Grainger Foundation has pledged $100 million for engineering programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The funds will be used for endowed chairs, scholarships and facilities.

January 28, 2013

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is planning a new commission that will study the issues facing public universities and consider ways to bolster them in an era of reduced tax support, The Los Angeles Times reported. The new commission will be announced today. It will be led by Robert J. Birgeneau, who is retiring in June as chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. In honor of the president who signed the legislation in 1862 that led to the system of land grant universities, the new effort will be called "The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education."

January 28, 2013

The University of the District of Columbia is eliminating nearly 100 positions -- most of them administrative but some faculty jobs as well -- to deal with financial problems, The Washington Post reported. Few details are available on which jobs will be cut. The cuts are projected to save $8.5 million a year.

 

January 28, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Kevin Shakesheff of the University of Nottingham explains an innovation that allows better observations of embryonic development in the lab. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

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