U.S. Higher Education News for September 19, 2015

 

Bowie, Liz. “The Towson U. Community Honors Maravene Loeschke; Memorial Pays Tribute to Former President Who Died of Cancer in June.” Baltimore Sun 19 Sep. 2015: A, 2.

They sang, danced and told stories about Maravene Loeschke at Towson University on Friday, as hundreds celebrated the life of the late university president described as warm, energetic and intensely focused on students.

Loeschke died of cancer June 25 at age 68, after stepping down as president in December. During a career in higher education that spanned 45 years, she was a Towson University student, professor, chair of the department of theater arts and dean. She became president of the institution in 2012. She also held positions at two other universities. . . .

Loeschke was “completely unflappable,” said William E. “Brit” Kirwan, former chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

He recalled that during Loeschke’s final interview for the job of university president, an earthquake struck, rattling the building and causing lights to go out. Loeschke simply suggested they move the interview to the parking lot–where she continued to make her case to the committee as cars drove around them.

Loeschke also was remembered as a planner; in fact, she had planned every detail of the memorial service, from the song “Loving You,” sung a cappella as a tribute to her husband, to a dance performance by a faculty member.

In a letter she wrote to be read at the service, Loeschke said: “I cannot imagine what a more rewarding career and life would have looked like.”

 

Constantini, Allen. “New York College Follows Concordia, Cuts Tuition.” KARE [Minneapolis-St. Paul] 18 Sep. 2015.

PAUL, Minn. – News of a large tuition cut at a New York college did not surprise officials at ConcordiaUniversity of St. Paul. The Minnesota school helped Utica College in the process.

Concordia University cut its own tuition by 33 percent in 2012. Utica College did them one better, cutting tuition by 42 percent in 2015. Further, UC guaranteed its students that they would each receive at least $1,000 in savings. . . .

Hutton said UC traveled to Saint Paul two years ago to study Concordia’s business model and its effectiveness. Now, Concordia Senior Vice President Dr. Eric LaMott said other schools are beating down his door.

“There are a lot of schools that are pursuing it right now,” said LaMott. “I have had a chance to interact with a number of schools, almost two to three a week, particularly from the northeast that are looking at this model or some version that fits their particular circumstances.”

Both Hutton and LaMott said the Concordia model of cutting tuition is not for every school.

“Tuition ‘resets’ do not work for everyone,” said Hutton. “It takes a certain set of characteristics for an institution to be successful with a tuition reset and that includes not being desperate and not seeing enrollments spiraling downward. This is not a move of desperation. If they do it when they are desperate and they are failing, they fail.” . . .

 

Krehbiel, Randy. “Chief State Budget Officer Says State ‘Well-Prepared’ for Revenue Skid.” Tulsa World [OK] 19 Sep. 2015.

The state’s chief budget officer on Friday downplayed the potential impact of declining state revenue, saying “the state is well-prepared to handle the challenge” of a second straight year of shrinking appropriations.

“There is still room to run government more efficiently,” said Preston Doerflinger, state secretary of finance and director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Doerflinger said he and chief legislative appropriators, Earl Sears of the House and Clark Jolley of the Senate, are already meeting among themselves and with agency heads to start planning for next session and to find ways to cope with a possible revenue failure during the current fiscal year. . . .

Doerflinger was particularly harsh in his assessment of higher education, which enjoys a semi-autonomous status within state government. He said higher ed has taken advantage of that situation to avoid efficiencies enforced on other areas of state government. . . .

Doerflinger said his role as the governor’s chief budget negotiator has caused him to become known as “The Grinch” and “grumpy old uncle” around the Capitol. More recently, he said, he’s acquired the nickname “Ron Swanson,” a sitcom character who works for a small town and describes his idea of government as “one guy sitting in a room deciding who to nuke.”

Doerflinger said Republicans “should not loathe” government, but find ways to make it as effective as possible. . . .

 

Kwong, Jessica. “100 and Counting.” Orange County Register [CA] 19 Sep. 2015: B, 1.

On Sept. 20, 1915, Santa Ana Junior College opened its doors to two dozen students as an upper division branch of Santa Ana High School.

Since that day, the college has moved to its own campus, opened ancillary campuses and dropped the “junior” from its name. This weekend, the community college, with nearly 30,000 students, celebrates a monumental birthday.

“Not everyone turns 100, that’s for sure,” said Santa Ana College President Erlinda Martinez. “It’s a wonderful legacy.”

Over the past century, the college with its main campus at North Bristol and West 17th streets has embedded itself in the Santa Ana community and pushed forward with an informal mission to bring a college degree to every home.

That mission is embodied in its landmark programs, beginning with the Santa Ana Partnership, a collaboration in 1983 between the college, Santa Ana Unified School District, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and the city of Santa Ana to provide students with the support they need to succeed in school, advance to college and graduate.

Under the partnership, the college in 2000 launched Padres Promotores de la Educacion, in which parents reach out to the community and talk about the importance of higher education.

The Adelante program was born in 2011, guaranteeing all Santa Ana Unified School District students who enroll in the college and maintain a 2.8 grade-point average admission to Cal State Fullerton, and those with a 3.0 grade-point average admission to UC Irvine. . . .

 

Navera, Tristan. “UD to Create New Corporation to Commercialize Technology.” Dayton Business Journal  Sep. 2015.

A new initiative between three of University of Dayton’s biggest schools will see a new corporation created to help commercialize technology.

UD’s school of engineering, school of business and school of law are working together on the initiative, which they are calling Leonardo Enterprises. They hope to build an independent enterprise with a board of directors in the local business community that moves technology from the idea phase into a more fully-formed commercial operation, Eddy Rojas, dean of UD’s school of engineering, tells me.

The product and company incubator would focus on technology transfer—research done by UD students that has commercial potential. Students and faculty from University of Dayton Research Institute and the school’s engineering, science and arts programs would be able to take ideas to the company to get mentorship and, potentially, seed funding.

“There are a lot of ideas that are born out of class projects, but the students don’t have a lot of opportunities to pursue them outside of the classroom,” Rojas said.

The company’s board of directors would be experienced business people from around the Dayton region, who will help vet the project and help the entrepreneur make connections locally to develop the idea. They would also administer a seed fund that would help fund startups. The school will look for donors to start up that fund.

UD’s school of law will help provide intellectual property training such as patents and non-disclosure agreements, while business students will help administer the company, Rojas said.

The project calls for a 4,000-square-foot dedicated “makers space” to be built on the ground floor of Kettering Laboratories, where the school of engineering is housed. The lab would be available 24/7 to students and faculty, with 3D printing, CNC machining, software and hardware to help create prototypes. . . .

 

“’White Only,’ ‘Black Only’ Signs at UB Linked to Student Art Project.” Buffalo News 17 Sep. 2015.

Campus police at the University at Buffalo removed signs saying “White Only” and “Black Only” Wednesday afternoon from Clemens Hall on the North Campus in Amherst. A university spokesperson said a police investigation found that the signs “were part of a student art project.”

The campus newspaper, The Spectrum, reported on its website that Ashley Powell, a graduate fine arts student who is black, told a meeting of the Black Student Union Wednesday evening that she posted the signs. The Spectrum noted that many students at the meeting were outraged and walked out. Other students, the newspaper said, denounced the signs on social media as “racist” and “an act of terrorism.”

The Spectrum added that “the project was for a 400-level art class titled ‘Instillation: Urban Space.’ Powell said the goal of the signs and project was to see what people’s reactions would be to them.” The signs were installed at water fountains and bathrooms in Clemens Hall.

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And here are so items of possible interest from newspapers outside of the U.S.:

 

Adil, Adnan. “Schools for Scandal.” News International [India] 19 Sep. 2015.

While visiting a friend who teaches Urdu at the Government College, Gulberg in Lahore, I saw more than 180 students of the intermediate level squeezed in a classroom, sweating and breathing heavily in the hot, humid weather of September while listening to the lecture.

On interviewing college teachers, it came out that this picture typifies most classrooms at government-run colleges in Punjab.

An English-language lecturer for FA classes at Government College, Gulberg for Girls, Ravi Road, Lahore, says she needs at least 15 minutes out of 45 minute-period to take the roll call (attendance) of her 160 students. She used to address a class of 270 students at a college near Gujranwala before she was posted to her current position in Lahore.

Obviously, a teacher cannot be expected to provide quality education to such a mob of students whose attendance alone is quite a job for a lecturer who teaches five classes a day. By the way, in Lahore, college teachers are also required to check for dengue larvae at their institutions besides shepherding students to officially organised youth shows.

Crowded classrooms, a shortage of teachers and lack of necessary facilities such as alternative electricity supply during power outages, inadequate science laboratories and perfunctory libraries are defining features of a majority of the public-sector colleges in the province.

In these miserable conditions, it’s no surprise that this year not a single student appearing from 14 public colleges of Lahore passed the BA/BS exams of Punjab University. Most students who obtained top positions across the province in this year’s intermediate examinations belong to private institutions. . . .

 

Clifton, Rodney A. “Undergraduate Teaching at Universities Needs to Improve.” Guelph Mercury [Ontario, Canada] 19 Sep. 2015: A, 9.

By now, many of the 2015 high school graduates have begun their university studies.

Some are attending research-oriented universities, while others are attending teaching-oriented universities.

Those who attend research universities will soon learn–if they have not already–that teaching first-year students is not highly valued. Many courses are scheduled in lecture halls with several hundred seats, and many instructors are inexperienced graduate students who receive slave wages for minimum work and who demonstrate minimum commitment.

Nevertheless, a few years, ago a number of high-priced senior university administrators held a conference to examine undergraduate teaching, The Revitalization of Undergraduate Education Canada.

In the keynote address, Robert Campbell, the president of Mount Allison University, in Sackville, N.B., said universities have “lost their way.” . . .

At research-oriented universities, between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of first-year students fail to proceed to second year, and fewer than 60 per cent graduate within six years. The statistics are only marginally better at teaching universities.

A policy initiative in the U.S. can help Canadian universities address this problem.

In 2008, the U.S. federal government passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which required all the post-secondary institutions that received federal funds to disclose the number and percentage of students who graduate within fixed periods of time.

This policy provided undergraduates with the information needed to select universities that are successful in graduating students, which put pressure on other institutions to improve their graduation rates.

 

“Illiteracy Rate Noticeably High in Kuwait.” Arab Times/Kuwait City Daily 19 Sep. 2015.

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 19: The illiteracy rate is noticeably high in Kuwait even though the country spends a huge part of its budget on education. A majority of the Kuwaiti population is either illiterate or can only read and write but do not possess any educational certificates, meaning that their skills in both reading and writing have not been measured.

According to a statistical report issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) for the current year, about 133,473 people in Kuwait are illiterate and 902,492 people can read and write but do not possess any educational certificate.

The report targeted people of ages 10 to 64 years, indicating that there are about 231,989 holders of university certificates . . .

It also revealed that about 10,721 people hold certificates of higher education levels such as masters and PhD while 440,556 people hold secondary school certificates. . . .

 

 “University of Cyprus Celebrates 25th Anniversary.” Cyprus Mail 19 Sep. 2015.

The University of Cyprus on Friday night celebrated 25 years from its establishment in 1989.

With 7,000 students, eight schools, 22 departments and 11 research units, in 2015 the University ranked in the first 1,000 universities in the world. It is eventually expected to offer courses of study for 10,000 students.

Addressing the event Rector Constantinos Christofides spoke of his vision of a university after reunification that would be a place where all the island`s youths, all the creative forces of the country could meet away from discrimination, intolerance, and segregation.

“We want to create an exemplary organisation as to its operation, inventiveness, motivation and resourcefulness of its members,” Christofides said.

He spoke of a continued modernisation process, because “that is the only way we can be competitive on an international level in an ever-changing environment.”

Education Minister Costas Kadis said the University of Cyprus was the first state higher education institution in the country which had managed to establish itself on a local, European and international level and continued to improve its position internationally every year. . . .

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Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Five Days:

September 12, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/13/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-12-2015/

September 13, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/14/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-13-2015/

September 14, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/15/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-14-2015/

September 15, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/17/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-15-2015/

September 16, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/18/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-16-2015/

September 17, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/19/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-17-2015/

September 18, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/20/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-18-2015/

 

12 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 19, 2015

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