Behind the News

U.Va.'s Sullivan Reinstated

Process and decision to serve as lessons for other institutions

In the two weeks between University of Virginia board members controversially asking Teresa A. Sullivan to resign her position of president on June 10 and her reinstatement on June 26, the university faced donors pulling out and an outpouring of public support for Sullivan.

Sullivan, who began her term on Aug. 1, 2010 after she was unanimously elected by the Board of Visitors in January of that year, was fired on June 10 for reasons that have largely not been made public.

New Hampshire Stepping Up STEM Field Efforts

Students, residents, and employers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field graduates in New Hampshire will be hearing a whole lot more about these areas of study in coming years. Representatives from the University System of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire signed a letter of commitment last month that lays out steps to meet a big goal: increase STEM-educated graduates by 50 percent by 2020, and then double that number by 2025. Currently, the two systems graduate about 1,120 students in these areas.

Plagiarism Still a Major Problem

Plagiarism is a widespread problem, and with anytime, anywhere internet access, it only seems to get worse. As part of a study published last summer by The Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than half of 1,055 college presidents surveyed said they had seen a rise in plagiarism in the last 10 years. (Just 2 percent thought that it had decreased.)

MIT-Harvard Project Aims to Change the Face of Learning

At the beginning of the 21st century, MIT began a bold, pioneering experiment in bringing higher learning to the masses. Originally intended for students traveling abroad to keep up with their studies, the OpenCourseWare Project enabled anyone to access the OCW site and read course materials from more than 2,000 MIT classes. While there was no interaction with faculty and no grades or credit given for doing any of the work, it opened the door to a variety of possibilities for online learning.

Reevaluating Reaction Policies

Ever since the University of California system was criticized for the campus police reaction to student protests in 2011—namely the use of pepper spray at UC Davis and batons at UC Berkeley—the system has been investigating and reevaluating its protest reaction policies.

Penalties for Pledging

Ivies cracking the whip on unhealthy Greek behavior

Fraternities and sororities are at the core of numerous institutions’ social traditions. But as several universities and their Greek organizations have come under fire for excessive drinking and violent behavior, Ivy League schools have stepped up to make changes to the system. With the implementation of new policies and penalties, a few are hoping to curb behaviors often associated with Greek life pledging—and the negative image these behaviors create in the public eye.

Too Little, Too Late

Illinois suspends financial aid award program early

In the midst of the debate in Congress over whether or not to double interest rates on Federal student loans in July comes another hot-button aid issue—states are running out of aid money altogether. At the end of March, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced it would need to suspend making Monetary Award Program (MAP) awards for FAFSAs filed on or after March 14.

Shout Out Day Success

On February 29, St. Catherine University (Minn.) students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and friends made their presence and appreciation for their school known in a big way. That Wednesday, designated Shout Out St. Kate’s Day, was a chance for everyone to share what drew them to the school, what they think sets St. Kate’s apart, and more. The hashtag #ShoutOutStKates earned trending status on Twitter. Daily total impressions on the university’s Facebook page jumped from 19,000 the day before to 232,000 that day.

Compliance Made Easy

Wading through compliance rules can be daunting for even the most seasoned administrator. The Higher Education Compliance Alliance, a new online resource, was launched on March 1 to help answer the most burning federal law and regulation questions.

The website features information on more than two dozen topics, including accounting, affirmative action, campus safety, HEOA compliance obligations, lobbying and political activities, and tax compliance, to name a few.

UC YouTube

There is more to YouTube than videos of talking dogs. Its vast collection of educational videos includes those from University of California Television (UCTV). In March, order was brought to the chaos by the creation of channels offering original programming funded by YouTube. Existing content creators ranging from TED to Madonna were invited to participate; UCTV has bragging rights as being the only university channel. “YouTube is moving into the content creation business by [investing] in a select few channels,” explains Lynn Burnstan, UCTV’s director.

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