The president of the Faculty Senate at South Carolina State University is suing the university, charging that she was replaced as a department chair because of her criticisms of university leaders, The State reported. The university denies wrongdoing. The university has faced a series of controversies involving its leadership and finances, with faculty leaders playing a prominent watchdog role.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Officials from Broward College, a two-year institution in Florida, spent Monday dispelling erroneous media reports that a terrorist was an instructor at the college in the mid-1990s. Adnan Shukrijumah, whom recent media reports identify as the new “head of global operations” for al-Qaida, attended Broward from summer 1996 to summer 1998 under the name “Jumah A. El-Chukri.” He majored in chemistry but did not graduate. Shukrijumah was indicted earlier this year for plotting suicide bomb attacks on New York City’s subway system in 2009. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Correcting recent news stories that mistakenly reported that Shukrijumah had been a professor at the college, an official Broward press release states, “at no time was this person employed by Broward College.” Of the media mix-up, J. David Armstrong Jr., Broward president, said, “Unfortunately, everytime something about this story comes up, we get dragged back into it. To our knowledge, we have not had any contact with him since he was a student, more than a decade ago. It is deplorable that misinformation about his connection to the college has been repeated in the media without any verification. We support the FBI and other officials in their efforts to find him, and as was reported by CNN, one of our professors who remembered him from 14 years ago apparently was instrumental in helping the FBI identify him through a tape recording of him taken in class.”
Marc Hauser, a prominent psychologist at Harvard University, is on leave amid investigations into research misconduct, The Boston Globe reported. The inquiry has already led to the retraction of an influential article published in 2002 in the journal Cognition and two other journals have been informed of concerns about papers on which Hauser was a major author. Hauser did not respond to requests by the Globe for comment, but the newspaper saw a letter he sent to colleagues in which he referred to mistakes he had made.
Parents and students are both having to dig deeper into their own resources -- with their own funds and with loans -- to finance higher education, according to an annual report on college financing released today by Sallie Mae and Gallup. The breakdown of who contributed how much for 2009-10:
- Parent income and savings: 37 percent.
- Parent borrowing: 10 percent.
- Student income and savings: 9 percent.
- Student borrowing: 14 percent.
- Friends and relatives: 7 percent
- Grants and scholarships: 23 percent.
Westwood College said on Monday that it has begun a series of reforms aimed at cleaning up questionable, misleading and allegedly fraudulent recruitment practices made public last week in the findings of a Government Accountability Office investigation and in the testimony of a former Westwood recruiter before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At a Texas campus of the for-profit institution, an undercover GAO investigator was encouraged to falsify information on his financial aid form to become eligible for Pell Grants.
The college, based in Denver, said it will implement a new recruiter pay structure on Aug. 21 that will no longer reward employees for reaching enrollment targets and will instead pay them a fixed salary. The college said it has begun an internal investigation into admissions and financial aid at all 17 of its campuses and plans to step up its "mystery shopping" efforts and other self-policing mechanisms. Westwood will also implement more stringent admissions standards.
The number of Iranian students enrolling at colleges in the United States is up 50 percent since 2005, although still at levels far below the tens of thousands who enrolled before the fall of the Shah, The New York Times reported. The students say that they are attracted by the quality of education offered, which they see as a more important factor than the tensions between the governments of Iran and the United States.
Under a new rule, University of Virginia students will be required to report -- at the time they register for courses -- whether they have been arrested or convicted of a crime, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Students were previously required to report such run-ins with the law, but were not forced to disclose at a particular time. Answering dishonestly could be a violation of the university's honor code, and such violations can result in a student's being kicked out. The rules change follows the May 3 murder of a student, Yeardley Love. Her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely has been charged. After his arrest, it was revealed that he had been arrested two years before for threatening a police officer and university officials said that they never learned of that incident.
Rod Blagojevich is missing from the Hall of Governors at Governors State University. The Chicago Tribune reported that the university has held off on obtaining a portrait of the former governor (currently awaiting the jury's verdict in his trial), citing the cost. Even when the economy gets better, the university may have another challenge, the Tribune noted: a new state law that bars the state or any state agency from spending tax dollars on a portrait of Blagojevich.
President Obama will travel to the University of Texas at Austin today to give a speech focused on higher education. No new policies or programs are expected to be announced. Aides said the speech will emphasize the importance of higher education as one of the "four pillars" of the country's new economic foundation, describe the president's "college completion" goal, and recap the "tremendous progress" the administration has made so far in implementing changes designed to reach that goal. The talk will be broadcast online by the university.
An adjunct at Oklahoma City Community College has decided not to teach there anymore -- after 17 years of doing so -- following a student complaint that he taught creationism alongside evolution in a biology course, The Oklahoman reported. A college spokesman said that the complaint was handled informally, and that the instructor was urged to follow the syllabus. The adjunct, Michael Talkington, made the decision not to teach again, the spokesman said. Talkington told the newspaper that he had never taught creationism, but had told students that there are "other schools of thought" beyond evolution.