Behind the News

Containing the costs of commencement speakers

Getting a prominent, yet free, speaker is more time-consuming than simply hiring one, but it can be the only option

Commencement speakers have become another point of financial scrutiny in higher ed, with an annual flurry of students crying foul on both the person selected and fees incurred. Some colleges avoid charges by tapping their own faculty for the task (as University of Chicago has done since 1970). Others pursue prominent speakers willing to donate their services.

WOW News: Attending class as a robot

And a 30-plus class at Texas A&M University at Galveston were all gifted with Fs

Attending class as a robot

Cluster hiring connects faculty across disciplines

Higher ed institutions are expanding interdisciplinary research activity by hiring groups of faculty from multiple disciplines at the same time. The idea, pioneered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1990s and sprouting up elsewhere since then, is to formalize the expectation of working collaboratively across the university. It may involve a variety of collaborative support activities or a less structured expectation (as part of their job descriptions) that the new hires work together.

Hunger strikers oppose layoffs of Tufts janitors

At least four students stopped eating, only drinking water, while others fasted during the day to oppose the layoffs

A small group of Tufts University students mounted a six-day hunger strike in May, but their target wasn’t fossil fuel divestment or nuclear disarmament. The Tufts Labor Coalition had pitched tents in front of the suburban Boston school’s administration building to protest the planned layoff of campus custodial workers.

While such staff cuts might not seem to be a typical student cause, the janitors’ plight illuminates issues of race and income equality, says David Ferrandiz, a Tufts sophomore and an organizer of the hunger strike.

Gaming: Serious business at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

University offers students a game development track in computer science

Bolstering student interest in STEM subjects is a priority for many schools, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is finding success on an unusual path.

The university offers students interested in the gaming industry a game development track in computer science, as well as an animation and interactive media concentration in visual arts. While a similar program at another

No excuses: College admissions campaign with a twist

Park University’s “Excuses” campaign pokes fun at students' excuses for not attending college

Admissions marketing pros have heard a wide variety of reasons why prospective students don’t believe they can go—or go back—to college.

Park University in Missouri’s “Excuses” campaign, wrapping up this spring, takes an entertaining approach to breaking down access barriers. Promos poke fun at excuses that range from “no pens” and “no matching socks” to “you’re not much of a morning, afternoon or evening person” and “my thumb drive is full.”

University building’s namesake stirs controversy

Students, faculty demand The University of North Carolina change name of building named for Ku Klux Klan member

As high-profile racial incidents on college campuses make headlines across the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is grappling with controversy surrounding Saunders Hall.

The history building—named for former student, North Carolina secretary of state and Ku Klux Klan member William Saunders—has spurred petitions and demonstrations by students and faculty demanding a name change.

Religious freedom law faces higher ed backlash

Presidents from several Indiana colleges and universities express opposition

When Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a controversial “religious freedom” bill, he probably didn’t expect the backlash that resulted. Although supporters claim the law provides protection for individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs, opponents say it opens the door for legal discrimination.

Community colleges strengthening tech career paths

Eight L.A.-area community colleges team with high schools and employers to support workforce

Partnerships between eight Los Angeles-area community colleges, 16 high schools and more than 100 employers launched in March to open tech career pathways to students and to strengthen the region’s workforce.

Campuses combat Yik Yak with positivity

UB reader survey finds administrators urging students to drown out harmful comments

Nearly half of the approximately 500 respondents (48 percent) to a UB reader survey said bullying and insults posted on Yik Yak make the social network and its app a “serious threat.” Nearly the same number of respondents said the network is “benign” and called it a fad that would fade over the next year.

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