Behind the News

The Policy Police

People can be very sensitive about their social media accounts, as witnessed any time Facebook makes changes to the news feed presentation. So it makes sense that the Sam Houston State University (Texas) campus reacted badly when administrators tried to implement a new social media policy requiring any school group with SHSU in its name to grant administrative access to the Marketing and Communications department. Cries of “free speech” quickly followed. Since then, reports in the campus newspaper indicate a social media committee was created and tasked with developing a new policy.

Update: Qatar Campuses

The trend of opening branch campuses overseas is cyclical. When things are good, institutions look outside their borders. When things get bad, institutions tend to retract those tentacles. However, Education City in Qatar, which opened in 2001 after six years of planning from the Qatar Foundation and now has seven higher ed institutions, is going strong.

In November, Northwestern University in Qatar broke ground on a new 32,520-square meter building to house its media, communication, and journalism school. Northwestern University (Ill.) founded its Qatar branch in 2008.

Occupy Higher Ed

Movement spreads from Wall Street to the campus green

The Occupy movement that has swept the nation—and the world—also has a home at many colleges and universities. Long associated with protests, and historically touted as the home of open discourse, American colleges and universities have had a difficult balancing act on their hands: how to promote free speech while maintaining safety on campus.

People Watch

Maravene S. Loeschke is no stranger to Towson University (Md.). She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from there and served on the faculty for more than 30 years. Now she has been appointed Towson’s next president, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Beginning in 1970, Loeschke moved up in the ranks from faculty member to dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, a position she held from 1997 to 2002. She is currently president of Mansfield University (Pa.), where she has been since 2006, and has previously served as provost of Wilkes University (Pa.). … David D.

EduComm Becomes UBTech 2012

Last month, Professional Media Group, owners and producers of the EduComm conference, announced a new name for the conference’s 2012 incarnation: UBTech.

When it began in 2003, EduComm’s focus was on the convergence of AV and IT in higher education. But as the years went by, EduComm sessions increasingly reflected the disciplines and topics covered in University Business magazine and its companion web seminar series.

Certified Green

Move over LEED, there’s a new certification in town. It’s not just buildings getting a green stamp of approval these days—events are, too. Colleges and universities across the country have begun implementing “certified green events programs” to limit the impact campus events have on the environment.

NYC Land Up for Grabs

Proposals are in from institutions vying to build a tech campus in the “city that never sleeps” as part of the “Applied Sciences NYC” initiative. It’s the beginning of an effort to bring New York City to the forefront of technology start-ups and innovation. The request for proposal was announced in July by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other members of his cabinet, and the initiative will provide a university, institution, or consortium city-owned land and up to $100 million to cover building costs.

Now Try This: A Mobile (Admissions) App

A Prospective student attending an open house or career fair, who has just finished the LSAT, or even who has some time on a train commute can apply to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on the spot—via smartphone or tablet. Officials there say it’s the first law school in the country facilitating the application process through the use of portable devices.

Forgiven Debt Plan: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Student loan program revisions

Student loan debt has been steadily rising for a number of years and has recently passed the $1 trillion mark, making it more than credit card debt. The issue has had attention all along, but there is more of a focus on it as recent graduates are having a hard time finding jobs that would enable them to repay those loans.

Report: Actions for Completion

The oft-noted statistics are grim: only about half of college students complete any degree or certificate within six years, according to the Information Center for Higher Education Policy Making and Analysis. In the fall of 2010, public policy firm HCM Strategists and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a series of conversations for institutional leaders dedicated to increasing success for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. HCM staff also conducted interviews with 30 campus leaders.

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