Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 19, 2018

Humboldt State University will discontinue its football program after the 2018 season to help trim its deficit, the university announced on its website. Humboldt, one of 23 campuses in the California State University System, said on Wednesday that the move is part of an effort to cut spending by $9 million and balance its budget by the 2020-21 academic year.

President Lisa Rossbacher said that despite a “tremendous” private fund-raising effort that brought in $329,000, the university decided that football “cannot be sustained through student fees and community giving.” That effort sought to raise $500,000.

At the same time, she said, the university “cannot continue to subsidize budget deficits in athletics without threatening our academic programs.”

Rossbacher said football is the university's most expensive athletic program, costing about $1 million annually. Overall, its athletics department last year ran a $750,000 deficit, up from $250,000 three years ago. Also, the university said, to remain eligible for NCAA Division II competition, it must maintain 10 sports, but football “is not included on that list.”

The decision leaves just one California college with an NCAA Division II football program: Azusa Pacific University, a private evangelical university northeast of Los Angeles.

Cal State said just five of its campuses now support football programs -- and all of the campuses are considerably larger than Humboldt State. Four other campuses eliminated their football programs in the mid-1990s.

Humboldt State said it will honor scholarships for eligible football players through the 2018-19 academic year. Coaches and staff will also help players contact other programs, the university said. At the end of the season, players will get a “full release,” allowing them to play elsewhere.

Players are also being offered academic and financial advising, with access to tutoring and other support services for as long as they are Humboldt students.

July 19, 2018

The University of California is on the brink of eliminating an 11-year-old $60 tuition surcharge in what would be the system’s first year-over-year decrease in almost 20 years.

UC’s Board of Regents is expected to vote today on a budget plan that would eliminate the fee, dropping base tuition and fees to $12,570 per year. The move would be a break from recent trends of rising student costs at the system. It last cut tuition in the 1999-2000 academic year, by 5 percent, and systemwide fees have more than tripled since then, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The $60 fee to be eliminated was first put in place in the fall of 2007 in order to fund almost $100 million in costs the system faced because of class-action lawsuits over raising graduate student fees midsemester. UC expects to have recovered nearly all costs by this fall.

UC had considered a 2.5 percent tuition increase earlier this year. But it was able to secure from the state a $98 million increase in funding, plus $249 million in one-time funding. The extra money is to help pay for enrolling more students from California plus expenses like maintenance, employee raises and retirement plan contributions.

The tuition rollback is “icing on the cake” after state funding was increased and the proposed tuition hike was scrapped, said Varsha Sarveshwar, a UC Berkeley student and member of the UC Student Association, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The UC system’s president, Janet Napolitano, said the system is now prepared to shift away from managing crises like repeated funding shortfalls. Leaders will start talks on crafting a four-year plan to address issues like tight space on campuses, graduating students on time and enrolling more students.

July 19, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Lambrianos Nikiforidis, assistant professor of marketing at SUNY Oneonta, explains how bias for the same sex may be what drives if and how parents play favorites. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 18, 2018

Loyola University New Orleans has announced layoffs of 25 full-time employees as part of a plan to eliminate a deficit, The New Orleans Advocate reported. The university is also suspending for the next 11 months its historic 7 percent match of employees' salaries for their retirement plans.

July 18, 2018

The last of three professors of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College on leave over harassment allegations has resigned, effective immediately, President Philip J. Hanlon announced Tuesday. William M. Kelley’s resignation “concludes a months-long investigative and disciplinary process concerning allegations of sexual misconduct” involving the three department faculty members, Hanlon said. “All three are no longer associated with Dartmouth. Their departures follow recommendations made in accordance with college policy by the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, Elizabeth F. Smith, to revoke their tenured appointments and terminate their employment based on the findings of separate investigations by an experienced external investigator.” All three recommendations were endorsed by a faculty-elected review committee.

As with the other two professors -- Paul J. Whalen, who resigned last month, and Todd Heatherton, who retired earlier in June -- Dartmouth did not enter into separation or nondisclosure agreements with Kelley and has made no severance payments to him. All three former faculty members will continue to be prohibited from entering campus property or attending any Dartmouth-sponsored events, on campus or off, Hanlon said. Dartmouth’s Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which was charged in January with reviewing sexual misconduct policies, has submitted its report to the college and Dartmouth will seek community feedback on next steps, he said. Kelley could not immediately be reached for comment. Heatherton previously apologized for acting "unprofessionally in public at conferences while intoxicated."

July 18, 2018

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have published a framework to help academics, research institutions and funders bring open science to the fore.

In the "Open Science by Design" report, published Tuesday, the academies make several recommendations to help make open science an integral part of the research process. These recommendations include creating better rewards for academics who practice open science, incorporating open science training into student curricula and making it easier for researchers to identify which research materials should be preserved and shared.

Though good progress has been made in terms of the number of academics publishing in open-access journals, the academies said that publication of other research materials, such as data and code, is not yet routine. This is due in part to researchers’ concerns that they might “get scooped” if they share their data sets before they have finished working with them, the academies said.

July 18, 2018

The Military Times released a list of the top 50 U.S. colleges and universities that allow the greatest numbers of service members to participate in tuition assistance. The analysis of 2017 data released Monday by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security ranked for-profit American Public Education, which is the parent company of American Military University, as the top institution for providing tuition assistance to 45,765 active-duty students.

The University System of Maryland was in second place for providing 29,768 active-duty students with tuition assistance.

Top 10 institutions included:

  1. American Public Education
  2. University System of Maryland
  3. Bridgepoint Education, the parent company of Ashford University
  4. Central Texas College
  5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  6. Columbia Southern Education Group, the parent company of Columbia Southern University and Waldorf University
  7. Excelsior College
  8. Liberty University
  9. Kaplan University
  10. Park University


July 18, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Lewis Davis, professor of economics at Union College, explores whether gendered language make a difference in hiring decisions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 17, 2018

A Russian national who was charged Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of Russia without registering as a foreign agent entered the U.S. in 2016 on a student visa.

Maria Butina is accused of working under the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government to develop relations with American politicians to establish “back-channel” lines of communication that could be used to advance Russia’s interests. An affidavit in support of the criminal complaint also says that Butina and the official sought to advance Russia’s interests “by establishing relationships with American political organizations,” including an unidentified gun rights organization.

The Washington Post reported that the descriptions in court papers match published reports about Butina’s interactions with the National Rifle Association. The Post reported that Butina, who is 29 years old, recently earned a graduate degree from American University.

The Post quoted Butina’s lawyer, Robert Neil Driscoll, who denied the allegations that she acted as a foreign agent and said she was simply networking to develop relationships with Americans. Driscoll said that Butina testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session earlier this year and offered to cooperate with the government.

July 17, 2018

A Harvard University administrator is apologizing for comments she made to a neighbor, who shared a video of the comments that has many saying the administrator was being racist. Theresa Lund, the administrator, is executive director of the Humanitarian Initiative. In the video, she appears outside her apartment building complaining to a neighbor who was playing with her child outside, in the afternoon, saying that their noise made it difficult for Lund's children to sleep. Lund asks the woman, who is white and who has a biracial daughter, if she lives in "one of the affordable units" of the building, and then tells the woman's young daughter that her mother is not being nice. Alyson Laliberte writes online that she was singled out for having a biracial daughter, and the video has led to massive online criticism of Lund.

The video may be seen here on Facebook.

Lund, in a statement to The Boston Globe, said that she was “terribly sorry” for what she had said. “I want to be accountable for my actions in a situation where I fell far short of my values and what I expect of myself. This clearly wasn't my best moment, and I have work to do to more consistently be my best self.”


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