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A three-person transition team has been appointed to oversee operations at Burlington College in the aftermath of the resignation of its beleaguered president, Christine Plunkett, late last week. The college's board of trustees said Michael Smith, a former president of Fairpoint Communications' Vermont operations and former state Administration Agency secretary, will serve as the college's interim president. Jane Knodell, a University of Vermont economics professor and former UVM provost and senior vice president, will serve as interim provost.
Like other small, private colleges and universities across the state, Goshen College officials say they continue to compete for students while focusing on providing high-quality education at a lower out-of-pocket cost to students. But doing so is a tricky balance, and one that college President Jim Brenneman said is part of a larger discussion on how to grow the college while staying true to the college’s traditions and beliefs.
Duke University has joined a small group of colleges that include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on admissions applications. But Duke is doing so in a different way from others, with a short essay, rather than boxes to check. And applicants can use the essay to write about identities beyond sexual orientation and gender identity that they want to share with Duke. The move comes as other colleges that have added such questions report that their experiences have been positive.
The U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced changes to how it pays the companies that manage student loan payments, responding to growing criticism that its oversight of those companies is inadequate. Officials have renegotiated the government’s contracts with the four main loan servicers, which together collect payments for tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers.
As college costs increase, so do expectations about payoff and questions about value. How should colleges be judged, if not by the financial success of their students? Is it higher education’s job to fix the economy?
Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University writes: College presidents, usually a verbose bunch, have been remarkably silent in the media on the topic of campus sexual assault and remedies for this plague. Why the silence? Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of this issue; every single president I know agrees that sexual assault is appalling and we must do all in our power to stop it. But with the intense media glare on horrific cases and thunderous righteous pounding on universities by legislators and regulators, we are also concerned that any appearance of disagreement on tactics will be construed as coddling criminals.
More than 34 million Americans—over 10 percent of the nation’s population—live in communities where public colleges are either scarce or nonexistent. Compared to communities with more learning options, education deserts are more likely to have growing Hispanic populations, lower educational-attainment rates, and a larger share of the work force employed in manufacturing. Many have only one public institution, typically a community college.
Dozens of higher education interest groups submitted comments last week on Senator Tom Harkin’s draft proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The American Council on Education submitted a consensus letter, signed by 20 other higher education groups, that laid out provisions that garnered widespread support as well as concern.
Although a recent study found that almost 75 percent of those who have science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) bachelor’s degrees have jobs in other fields, policymakers, advocates and executives continue to push STEM education as a way to close achievement gaps and produce U.S. innovation. Senior officials with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy say the focus on STEM education is a response to global achievement trends, with an effort to develop students’ skills rather than drive them to specific careers.
As the price of new college textbooks continues to rise, many students returning to class this fall are finding sympathy — and relief — from faculty. Between 2002 and 2012, prices for new textbooks rose 82%, while tuition and fees increased about 89% during that period, and overall consumer prices grew 28%, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
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