Academic Freedom for the Southern Community

By Eric Hoover


Daryao S. Khatri noticed the young man, the one who walked in late. The professor did not know if he could solve basic math problems, or if he wanted to learn. Mr. Khatri knew just one thing: When he first looked at Marc’Quinn Davis, the young man looked away.

It was June 2007. Arriving at the University of the District of Columbia that morning, neither one was sure what the weeks ahead would bring. They were as different as odd and even, the physics professor from India and the black teenager from across town. Mr. Khatri had come to the university long before Mr. Davis was born. One breathed numbers, the other shrugged at them.

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y Eric Kelderman

The latest report on state financing of higher education shows a glimmer of good news for public colleges. But it’s also a reminder of how much has changed for public higher education since the start of the recession, in 2008.

State and local dollars for higher education increased by 0.7 percent from the 2012 to the 2013 fiscal years, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers. At the same time, enrollment at the nation’s public colleges dropped by 2.4 percent, according to the association’s “State Higher Education Finance” report.
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April 11, 2014
Adrianna Kezar
Policy makers and entrepreneurs decry accreditation for slowing innovation on campuses and reinforcing the status quo. For example, the American Enterprise Institute and American Council of Trustees have written papers and held sessions on the problem of accreditation holding back innovation. The Heritage Foundation constantly critiques accreditation. A 2013 Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions focused on questions of how accreditation is blocking innovation. And in blog postings, commentators decry accreditation for closing down for-profit providers such as Altuis Education.
When claims like these are made, limited evidence or single anecdotes are presented to support the case. I am quite surprised by the attention these claims have been given, especially when I have 20 years of data to demonstrate that accreditation supports innovation and change on campuses.

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Inside Higher Ed

By Mark Keierleber

With college completion and rising costs in the national spotlight, federal and state policy makers are looking to community colleges to feed ever more students to four-year institutions. But while nearly half of bachelor’s-degree recipients begin higher education at community colleges, a study released last month shows that a loss of academic credits among transfer students is preventing many of them from reaching graduation.

Although more than half of state legislatures have rules intended to ensure students transfer smoothly, and federal lawmakers are considering their own set of guidelines, some higher-education officials say existing state and institutional transfer policies lack flexibility or are riddled with inconsistencies.

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By Brad Wolverton

Arlington, Tex.

It was only a basketball game. But when Shabazz Napier spoke into a CBS microphone late Monday night after his team had just won a national championship, he used the moment to broadcast a message that had little to do with sports.

“I want to get everybody’s attention right quick,” he said to some 70,000 people gathered here in AT&T Stadium and millions more watching on television. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at the hungry Huskies … This is what happens when you banned us.”

Mr. Napier, a senior at the University of Connecticut, was referring to the one-year postseason penalty the National Collegiate Athletic Association issued in 2012 for the team’s failure to meet minimum academic requirements. But his statement magnified deeper questions about academic priorities in big-time college sports and the NCAA’s role in overseeing them.
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ust when the Service Employees International Union’s Adjunct Action campaign seemed to be picking up real momentum, the nationwide effort to unionize part-time faculty has hit some roadblocks in Los Angeles.

Following a string of successful campaigns to unionize adjuncts at institutions in the Washington, D.C. and Boston areas, Adjunct Action announced last winter that it had recruited contingent faculty at three Los Angeles institutions—Whittier College, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of La Verne—to file petitions for union elections.

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The Obama administration on Friday set the stage for a new round in the years-long fight over its controversial gainful-employment rule, with the formal release of a new proposal that comes some 20 months after a federal judge blocked key parts of the original version.

The proposal seeks to cut off federal financial aid to career-oriented programs whose graduates have high student-loan debt relative to their incomes.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the main trade group representing for-profit colleges, has waged a bitter fight against the rule and sued the department in federal court in a bid to block the initial measure. A judge in 2012 vacated portions of the original rule but ruled that the Education Department still had the authority to issue the regulations…read more

A new report on online education finds “noise in the data” that institutions send to the U.S. Department of Education about their offerings. While 3,311 institutions say they have online programs, the report says, the actual number is more like 1,243—in part because the definition of “online” is “overly ambiguous and broad,” and in part because an institution that has multiple campuses can count each as having online programs, even if the institution in fact has only a single online offering available to all its students…read more

By Brian Goedde

One day last year I began my day by pedaling my bike gently, so as not to break a sweat, to the Taipei Public Library, an eight-story concrete tower with tropical plants hanging from its angular balconies. Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, another day of work: I logged on to see how my Shakespeare students in snowy Ann Arbor were doing, 7,500 miles away.

I never escaped the feeling that I was getting away with something. When I checked my email I was reminded of all the stress on campus—limited parking, students in distress, the firing of a much-loved administrator, and resultant seething among faculty. The campus was a hotbed of tension, and I didn’t have to deal with any of it. I dealt with getting my milk-tea order just right—with my beginner’s Chinese, I had to answer what size, temperature, and amount of sugar I wanted, and did I want small or large tapioca balls and about how many, and I had to choose among dozens of kinds of tea. And then I went to the library to grade my students’ discussion-board comments on mercy and justice in Henry V…read more