Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 3, 2010

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Minnesota Republican, last week vetoed a bill that would have required the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to create a five-year plan to help students transfer credits from community colleges to universities, and to better inform community college students about which course credits transfer, The St. Cloud Times reported. The governor said that the system was already working on the issue so that legislation was not necessary.

May 3, 2010

Female students at the University of Maine at Farmington marched topless Friday to draw attention to their legal right in the state to appear that way and to try to adjust public attitudes so that doing so would not offend people, The Bangor Daily News reported. Judging from the reaction, they have a ways to go. Some critics are calling on university officials to better educate students about why women shouldn't appear topless. One local critic carried a blanket along the march route, trying to block views of the female students' breasts.

May 3, 2010

A number of for-profit colleges are recruiting in homeless shelters, helping people there apply for federal grants and loans -- loans that they will be unlikely to repay when many them never advance far in their programs, Business Week reported. The article notes that these students are among those sending for-profit enrollments skyrocketing, with large shares of the costs (and the institutions' revenue) coming from federal funds.

April 30, 2010

At the Florida Institute of Technology’s newest fraternity, you don’t rush -- you log in. Theta Omega Gamma, created this year by a sophomore, Darrek Battle, exists exclusively online, serving a membership of 24 fully online students. According to Battle and the faculty adviser Vicky Knerly, that’s a first. “When I started school I was thinking 'Are there any fraternities out there accepting online students?' and I couldn’t find any,” Battle told Inside Higher Ed. So, he started his own. Theta Omega Gamma serves all the functions of a normal fraternity, Knerly says -- “except for going out together and drinking.” But that is not Theta’s m.o. anyway; it is a service fraternity, not a Greek fraternity. And even if its members -- which include men and women -- cannot convene for service projects, they can coordinate, through chat room meet-ups, efforts to volunteer for national charitable organizations in their own communities. As for the social side, Battle says he is trying to generate interest in helping online students at other institutions build their own chapters. And he is still working on figuring out how to simulate the camaraderie of a normal fraternity in an online environment. “It’s been kind of hard to come up with ideas like that,” he says. “So I think for now we’re just going to go with the flow.”

April 30, 2010

The Young Conservatives of Texas are protesting a sculpture, "Tornado of Ideas," that they say disrespects many on the campus. The sculpture features many parts and many images -- some of which are visible on this Facebook page organized by those criticizing the work. The Young Conservatives of Texas have specifically cited parts of the sculpture that portray the Texas Tech mascot, the Masked Rider, using a javelin to (the conservatives believe) sodomize a police officer and that show two lesbians sitting together. Joe Arredondo, chairman of the the university's public art committee, said he was surprised by the protest because the sculpture has been on campus since 2004. "I guess they finally got angry," he said. Arredondo said he wasn't sure he would agree with the way the students have characterized the various images. "As with any great artwork, it's subject to all kinds of interpretation," he said. As for students protesting the sculpture, he said he wasn't bothered. "This is a work about ideas," he said.

April 30, 2010

The University of Arizona's president said Thursday that the institution is losing some top students because of the state's new immigration law, a law many view as encouraging ethnic profiling and other forms of discrimination against Latinos. President Robert E. Shelton released a letter in which he said: "We have already begun to feel an impact from SB1070. The families of a number of out-of-state students (to date all of them honors students) have told us that they are changing their plans and will be sending their children to universities in other states. This should sadden anyone who cares about attracting the best and brightest students to Arizona." A spokesman for Arizona State University said that institution has received "several phone calls of applicants saying they won't come now."

April 30, 2010

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on Thursday announced that it is creating a search consulting business, focusing on presidents and other top officials of colleges. AGB Search, as it will be called, will launch this summer. AGB also announced that James Ferrare will become senior vice president and managing principal of AGB Search. Ferrare is a senior consultant at Academic Search, one of the leading search firms focused on the college president market. Academic Search describes itself as having been founded by "the presidential and trustee-based associations" representing colleges.

April 29, 2010
  • Annual Meeting, American Council of Learned Societies, May 6-8, Philadelphia.
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Symposium, Urban Campuses: Leadership for Energy and Sustainability, Society for College and University Planning, May 12, Pittsburgh.
  • 50th Annual Forum, Association for Institutional Research, May 29-June 2, Chicago.
  • Annual Conference and Expo, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, May 30-June 4, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Eighth Joint International Meeting of the AMS and the Sociedad Matemática Mexicana, American Mathematical Society, June 2-5, Berkeley, Calif.
  • Founders of Bioethics International Congress, James F. Drane Bioethics Institute at Edinboro University, June 3-5, Edinboro, Pa.
  • These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.

    To submit a listing, click here.

    April 29, 2010

    Amid calls for boycotts of Arizona -- in response to a new law that many believe will result in ethnic profiling -- at least one college program will lose a participant. Tayari Jones, an assistant professor of creative writing at Rutgers University's Newark campus, announced that she will abandon plans to attend the Pima Writers Workshop at Pima Community College, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    April 29, 2010

    New England College has settled its lawsuit against Drew University over the actions of a former poetry program director at New England who left and set up a similar program at Drew, bringing faculty members with her, the Associated Press reported. New England charged Drew and the professor with essentially stealing the program. Details of the settlement were not available.

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