Higher Education Quick Takes
Maddie Poshard has turned down a full scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University, where her father is the president, The Chicago Tribune reported. Her decision -- a reversal -- follows a Tribune article raising questions about a public university giving a merit scholarship to a close relative of the president.
Washington Theological Union, a Roman Catholic seminary and graduate school, announced Monday that it "does not have the financial resources" to remain open after the 2012-13 academic year. The 40-year-old institution will enroll its last students this fall and operate long enough to see them through their studies, its officials said. Like many very small institutions, seminaries have been hard hit by the economic downturn of the last several years, and many have closed or looked to merge.
Hundreds of people rallied in Vancouver Sunday to back Rumana Manzur, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia who was blinded in an attack while visiting family members in Bangladesh -- an attack for which her husband has been arrested. The Vancouver Sun reported that participants said they wanted to express public support for Manzur, draw attention to domestic violence and show that the problem is not unique to South Asia.
Two major funders of biomedical research and Germany's leading scholarly society said Monday that they would create what they described as a top-quality, open access journal -- though many of the details of the new venture have yet to be nailed down. Officials from the The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Britain's Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society said that their plan had grown from discussions with leading scientists in 2010 in which they expressed desire for a new, more efficient and more financially independent form of scholarly publishing. Although many aspects of the new entity remain uncertain -- including its title, editor and business model -- it is expected to have several unusual features, in addition to being published only online.
The journal's backers said they did not expect to charge authors fees to publish their work (as do some journals that do not charge readers); apart from an editor-in-chief, filtering of submissions are to be done by a board of working scientists, rather than by professional editors (according to Science magazine), and the peer review and editing process is designed to be much faster than normal. "The ethos of the journal will be to avoid asking authors to make extensive modifications or perform endless additional experiments before a paper can be published," Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said in a news release about the venture.
The Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act Tuesday morning, nearly ten years after the proposal — which would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by pursuing a college degree or joining the military — was first introduced.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano and Department of Defense Undersecretary Clifford Stanley in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stanley will be talking about the military benefits of passing the act.
In a teleconference with the media on Monday afternoon, Duncan acknowledged that the main purpose of the hearing is to raise awareness, and he emphasized the need to “educate Americans” on the benefits of bringing some undocumented immigrants into the workforce.
“We need to summon the courage and political will (to pass it),” Duncan said. “We need the human potential.”
The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced in every Congressional session since 2001 — sometimes as a standalone bill, and sometimes as a part of other legislation — and failed each time. It was re-introduced by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in May.
The New York Legislature has approved a plan to allow each campus of the City University of New York and the State University of New York to raise tuition by $300 a year for five years. The plan was a priority of Governor Andrew Cuomo and university leaders. The pattern in New York State has been for some years without tuition increases, followed by other years with large increases. Supporters of the plan said it would make it easier for both the universities and families to plan.
Stephen Everhart, associate professor of finance and associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the School of Business of the American University in Cairo, was killed last week in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his car as he was returning to the U.S. embassy compound from meetings at a university. Everhart was serving as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development on a project to promote entrepreneurship education in Iraqi universities' schools of business and commerce. A statement from American University in Cairo said: "His infectious enthusiasm, his curiosity, passion and wisdom made him a skilled alliance-builder and formidable advocate for business as an engine of growth and prosperity in the developing world."
When presidents bring appointments to boards, they are almost always routinely approved (at least those discussed in public). But the trustetes of San Joaquin Delta College surprised the new president, Jeff Marsee, by rejecting his proposed promotion of the dean of planning and research to serve as acting vice president for business, The Record reported. Trustees said that more candidates should have been considered. Board members have in the past been accused of micromanaging.
In today’s Academic Minute, Emily Mooney of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts explains nature's complex balance between plants and animals. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The private equity firm Providence Equity Partners could announce a deal to buy Blackboard as early as this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. Blackboard announced in April that it was considering offers for a purchase, and much of the speculation has centered on private investors as opposed to companies in the higher ed market.