Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 7, 2013

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights plans to investigate how the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill handles sexual assaults on the campus, the Associated Press reported. The agency said in a March 1 letter that it would conduct an inquiry into a complaint filed on behalf of 64 women in January that alleged, among other things, that said the individuals who run the campus judicial system mistreated victims and that upper-level administrators pressured them to underreport sexual assault statistics to the federal government.

March 7, 2013

It's that time: a new month, a new Cartoon Caption Contest.

Click here to suggest a caption for March's cartoon, the latest drawing by Matthew Henry Hall. The three entries deemed most clever and creative by our experts' panel will be put to a vote by our readers, and the winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated by our judges as finalists for our February cartoon. 

And congratulations to the winner of our January contest: Aaron J. Moore, director of alumni relations for the California State University System's chancellor's office and executive director of the CSU Alumni Council. Find out more about him and his submission by visiting this link.

March 7, 2013

The University of Michigan will today announce a $50 million gift for its graduate program in writing, AnnArbor.com reported. The gift is believed to be the largest ever for a writing program, and comes at a time that mega-gifts have become much more common for science and business programs than for those in the humanities. The gift is from Helen Zell, a Michigan graduate and longtime supporter of the program.

 

March 7, 2013

Both houses of the Texas Legislature approved a measure Wednesday that would merge two existing institutions to create one university in South Texas, and give the region its first medical school, The Monitor reported. The legislation would formalize a plan hatched late last year by the University of Texas System to merge its Pan American and Brownsville campuses, which are about 60 miles apart, to strengthen the delivery of education in the Rio Grande Valley. The legislation would also create a new medical school to try to address a physician shortage in the region.

 

March 7, 2013

State regulators in California have ordered Aristotle University -- an unaccredited institution investigated for preying on foreign students -- to close, NBC San Diego reported. The television station, whose original reporting earlier this year prompted an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, published a letter in which the state Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education said that Aristotle's founder, Xanthi Gionis, would face $50,000 in fines if he didn't shut the school in two weeks.

 

March 6, 2013

The large college enrollment growth seen in the post-recession period leveled off between 2011 and 2012, but continued state budget cuts meant that public colleges and universities saw a 9 percent decline in per-student state appropriations between 2011 and 2012, according to a report released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The report, a followup to one released in January, finds that while spending increased in three of every five states, those increases were small, and when coupled with large decreases in states like California, amounted to an overall decline.

Public colleges and universities have tried to make up the difference through tuition increases. Net tuition revenue as a share of general operating revenues (excluding grants for research and auxiliary functions) grew from 31.6 percent in 2008 to 42.5 percent in 2012. Since 2002, enrollment at public universities has increased 28 percent, according to the report.

“One year does not make a trend, but SHEEO’s annual studies document a long-term trend toward shifting more of the burden of financing higher education onto tuition and fees," said SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter in a press release. "In light of these trends, policymakers should give more attention to the size and effectiveness of state and institutional student assistance programs in providing access and adequate support for full-time enrollment in postsecondary education.

As with similar studies, the overall trend masks deep differences between states. While some states, such as Iowa, have seen significant declines in per-student appropriations that tuition hikes have not been able to compensate for, other states, particularly North Dakota, have seen robust growth in enrollments, per-student spending and tuition prices that leave them in much better positions than in 2000.

March 6, 2013

The government of British Columbia proposed Tuesday that the Canadian province adopt a unified system of quality assurance across all types of postsecondary education, which would replace separate systems that now exist and extend oversight to language schools that to date have gone without meaningful review.

March 6, 2013

Quinnipiac University has made “some effort” toward coming into compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal judge ruled Monday, but not enough to lift the injunction preventing the institution from eliminating its women’s volleyball team. This marks the third judicial loss for Quinnipiac stemming from history of providing adequate opportunities for female athletes, which Title IX requires to be equitable to those of males. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed that Quinnipiac erred in 2010 when it attempted to replace volleyball with competitive cheerleading, which cannot be counted as a varsity sport under Title IX.

March 6, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, T. Florian Jaeger reveals how language is universally shaped by the inner workings of the human brain. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

March 6, 2013

The head of the University of Virginia's governing board responded sharply Tuesday to faculty criticism in the wake of a Washington Post article suggesting that she was micromanaging the work of President Teresa Sullivan by barraging her with dozens of goals for the year, The Washington Post reported. In her letter, which came after Virginia's Faculty Senate cited the Post article in criticizing her, Dragas noted that the Board of Visitors is not permitted to discuss such "confidential personnel matters" as the goal-setting process for the president. “This reality inevitably leads to incomplete or one-sided coverage, making it even more difficult to fairly judge," she wrote. She went on to say that the entire board had been invited to participate in the process of setting goals for Sullivan, and that she was committed to working effectively with the president.

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