U.S. Higher Education News for September 25, 2015, Part 1


Anderson, A. Scott. “Let’s Move Utah into Education’s Top 10 States.” Deseret Morning News [Salt Lake City, UT] 25 Sep. 2015.

Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) is one of the world’s largest integrated international container transportation, logistics and terminal companies. The firm has moved its U.S. headquarters from California to Utah. It is quite remarkable that one of the world’s largest shippers would have its U.S. headquarters in Utah rather than a major U.S. port city. But what is even more interesting is the reason the company came to Utah.

During the recent Utah Trade Mission to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, Erxin Yao, OOCL’s director of corporate planning and administration, told the Utah trade delegation during a tour of the firm’s Hong Kong facilities that he is a real fan of Utah. “I like Utah because of the people,” he said. “They are friendly, industrious, honest and well-educated.”

Our people are Utah’s secret sauce for success, and quality education for our young people is the key to Utah’s future success.

The good news is that Utahns greatly value education. In numerous polls, including the recent Envision Utah survey, education emerges as Utah’s top issue. Why? Most Utahns who took the survey (almost 53,000 of us), said an educated workforce will drive a strong economy. They believe educated Utahns will be better citizens and create better, safer communities.

Utah is a top 10 state by many measures of success. But we are not top 10 in education–perhaps the most important measure of all. Education outcomes are improving, but we have much progress to make.

Utahns say education is important for four primary reasons: (1) Workforce excellence drives a strong economy; (2) educated citizens more fully participate in society (volunteering, casting educated votes, etc.); (3) educated people enjoy better health and make healthier decisions, reducing health care costs; and (4) education ensures opportunities for all Utahns to achieve the American dream.

The Envision Utah survey also showed Utahns are willing to pay more to improve education–as long as the money is well-spent. . . .


Burleson, Anna. “Conflict Resolution Center Found Empty, “on Hiatus” at UND.” Grand Forks Herald  [ND] 25 Sep. 2015.

Clicking the link to UND’s Conflict Resolution Center online leads simply to the school’s central website, and dialing the number listed results in dead air followed by the dial tone.

A Wednesday afternoon visit by the Herald to the center on Cambridge Street was met with the discovery of a seemingly empty building, save for the campus radio station, which was locked, and carpet that was being taken out.

UND spokesman Peter Johnson said the center itself is “on hiatus,” but its services are still being offered through Sustainable Solution Services in Grand Forks.

“What it’s future is, I don’t know, but it’s services are still being provided, so if there is anybody on campus still looking for conflict resolution services, we’ve got mechanisms for getting them help.”

Johnson said the center is still “on the books” as a future option and is being looked at in conjunction with filling the school’s “ombuds” mediator position.

When UND hired an ombuds at the school in 2013, it was meant to be a first stop before going to the Conflict Resolution Center, according to Herald archives. The ombuds position has been open for since September 2014, and a second search for applicants is underway after the person who initially took the job in May backed out. . . .

The center’s last event publicized on UND’s website was April 2014, and its director took the ombuds job at North Dakota State University one month later. Johnson said the transition away from the center as it has existed for more than two decades most likely started around that time. . . .


Eger, Andrea. “Oklahoma Teacher Shortage: State Board Approves 157 More Emergency Certificates.” Tulsa World [OK] 25 Sep. 2015.

In response to the statewide teacher shortage, the Oklahoma State Department of Education on Thursday announced the launch of a task force and received board approval for 157 more emergency teaching certificates to allow applicants who haven’t completed basic higher education and training requirements to enter the classroom right away.

After the board already approved 685 emergency certificates in July and August, the new total for the year comes to 842.

That figure now surpasses the 825 emergency certificates issued over the previous four years.

Officials also announced the establishment of the new Teacher Shortage Task Force, which will comprise about 60 individuals. The group will work for the next 12 months, beginning Sept. 29, to study and recommend potential solutions that could be addressed by the Legislature, communities and the state education department itself. . . .

Board members were also shown a chart comparing state appropriations for public schools with trends in student enrollment over the past six years. It showed that overall appropriations in fiscal year 2015 were $101 million less than the $1.977 billion in fiscal year 2010 and that there are 36,000 more students.

Hofmeister commented that the overall funding decrease is even more dramatic when compared to the highest funding level ever in pre-recession 2008, and that student enrollment has grown by 43,000 since then. . . .

Officials responded that state accreditation officers are still gathering the latest figures, but that during 2014-15, more than 850 courses were cut in response to unfilled teacher vacancies. . . .

The latest survey of school districts by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association found that 1,000 teaching vacancies remained in the first half of August even after the elimination of 600 teaching jobs since last school year. And the shortages are widespread, regardless of the district’s size and location and the subject area. . . .


Johnson, Glen D. “Oklahoma Exceeds Completion Benchmark.” Tulsa World [OK] 25 Sep. 2015.

Oklahoma’s engagement in Complete College America, a national initiative designed to increase significantly the number of Americans with college degrees and certificates, continues to be successful. Named the national model for CCA, our state plan is built on five key areas of focus: promoting college readiness, transforming remediation, strengthening pathways to degrees and certificates, expanding adult degree completion efforts, and rewarding performance. Our goal is to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned in our state by an average of 1,700 per year, resulting in a 67 percent increase by 2023.

Gov. Mary Fallin recently announced that in year three of the CCA degree completion initiative, Oklahoma’s public and private institutions and career technology centers again surpassed the average annual goal, conferring 1,842 additional degrees and certificates. This achievement follows extraordinary success in the first and second years of the program, during which the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma increased by 2,945 and 3,577, respectively.

The CCA target for the first three years of the 12-year goal was a cumulative increase of 5,100 additional degrees and certificates. While we have made substantial gains and exceeded this early benchmark, we should acknowledge the growing challenges we face in maintaining this significant momentum. Other CCA states have increased their investment in degree completion initiatives, while Oklahoma has repeatedly surpassed our goals on either flat or reduced budgets.

Increasing Oklahoma’s number of college degree and certificate holders is essential to meeting the state’s workforce needs. Nationally, more than 30 percent of adults over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. In Oklahoma, that number is just above 24 percent. The governor has made degree completion a top state priority, and our citizens agree, as exemplified in a recent OETA survey that revealed higher education ties with the Oklahoma National Guard as the top valued service in Oklahoma. . . .


Snyder, Susan. “PSU’s Spanier Denied a Trip to Saudi Arabia.” Philadelphia Inquirer 25 Sep. 2015: B, 2.

Former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier won’t go to Saudi Arabia this fall after all.

Commonwealth Court denied Spanier’s request to travel there to meet with higher education officials, noting that the lack of an extradition treaty between the United States and Saudi Arabia would make it impossible to force him back.

Spanier is awaiting trial on perjury and conspiracy charges connected to the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, and has been barred since August 2013 from leaving the country without approval of the court and the attorney general.

The former university president asked the court earlier this month if he could make the trip to Saudi Arabia. The court had granted his requests for international travel several times in the past, including a trip to Saudi Arabia last year.

Spanier, a sociologist, lives in State College, Pa., and remains a tenured member of the Penn State faculty as the court case filed against him in 2012 drags on. No court date has been set. . . .


Sylvester, Joe. “Geisinger at 100 Symposium: Health System, Colleges Collaborate on Research.” Daily Item [Sunbury, PA] 25 Sep. 2015.

Bucknell University and Geisinger have collaborated in several areas of research for years.

Bucknell faculty and students also work with Geisinger Medical Center physicians and researchers at the Geisinger Health System’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute in Lewisburg.

But the Lewisburg university is not the only institution of higher learning that Geisinger touches. Other universities in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania work in collaboration with the health care giant in numerous ways.

During a Geisinger regional day conference on Thursday, part of the two-day gathering, “A Century of Transformation and Innovation Conference,” the presidents of six of those schools talked about their many connections with Geisinger and about dealing with the high costs of higher education and health care. . . .

Bucknell President John Bravman was a guest speaker on “small” schools working with a big health care system and the opportunities for collaboration. . . .

The Susquehanna University and Geisinger Health System student health center and health clinic . . . includes pediatric urgent care, in the former St. Pius Church in Selinsgrove. Bloomsburg University President David Soltz said Geisinger has contracted with the university to provide bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in nursing. With 40 of the university’s nursing students on the Geisinger campus, the university was able to increase the number of students by 50 percent, from 80 to 120, he said.

“One of our fastest growing programs is our allied sciences, speech pathology and audiology,” Soltz said.

The allied sciences include pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy and medical imaging programs. . . .

Thomas Botzman, president of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy and The University of Scranton President Father Kevin Quinn also spoke about their institutions’ collaboration with Geisinger. . . .


Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Seven Days:

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

September 19, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-19-2015/

September 20, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-20-2015/

September 21, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/22/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015/

September 22, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-1/

September 22, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-2/

September 23, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-1/

September 23, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-2/

September 24, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-1/

September 24, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-2/



5 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 25, 2015, Part 1

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