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News Feeds - Chronicle’s Breaking News
Below is a news feed from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s "The Ticker” blog, providing breaking news in higher education.  Fresh content is pulled from the feed at 15 minute intervals.

2 New York Colleges Discuss Merging Graduate ProgramsOpen in a New Window

Two New York colleges say they are exploring a merger of graduate programs, the Albany Times Union reports. The potential merger, between Clarkson University and Union Graduate College, would be "aimed at building on complementary existing programs while also providing new opportunities for growth," the two colleges said in a news release. "Clarkson’s national reputation in engineering, science, and management would reinforce Union Graduate College’s strengths in those related disciplines, and offer additional resources to benefit students and alumni of each school," the release states. "Meanwhile, Union Graduate College’s well-regarded programs in bioethics, health-care management, and education would allow Clarkson to expand its graduate offerings, which also include accredited programs in physical therapy and physician-assistant studies."

According to a press release from both, the discussions "grew out of recognition of a close alignment in several key academic disciplines shared by the institutions." Clarkson has programs on engineering, science and management that would reinforce Union Graduate College's strengths in related disciplines and offer additional resources to both, the release said.

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West Liberty U. Faculty Votes No Confidence in President Over Ethics ComplaintOpen in a New Window

The Faculty Senate at West Liberty University has voted no confidence in its president after allegations that he used university resources to promote a film produced by his company, the CBS affiliate WTRF-TV reports. The West Virginia Ethics Commission is investigating accusations that Robin C. Capehart used several different university resources, including a television station and a credit card, to promote the 2011 film Doughboy, which was made by his company, Flyover Films. Mr. Capehart has denied the allegations.

Posted: Monday, March 2, 2015 1:26 PM EST Updated: Monday, March 2, 2015 1:51 PM EST WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. - The West Liberty University faculty senate has voted no confidence in WLU President Robin Capehart following an accusation of ethics violations to the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

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3 Higher-Education Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise Research FundingOpen in a New Window

Three higher-education leaders are urging federal lawmakers to repeal sequestration and increase research funding in the budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

In a letter on Friday, the presidents of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Association of American Universities, and the American Council on Education wrote that continued limits on federal investment in scientific research and higher education would threaten the position of the United States as the world’s top economic...


Wyoming Catholic College Drops Out of Federal Student-Aid ProgramsOpen in a New Window

Wyoming Catholic College has announced that it will quit participating in the federal student-aid programs in order to avoid having to comply with federal regulations that it describes as burdensome and “clearly troubling for faith-based institutions.” The decision was unanimously approved last week by the college’s Board of Directors.

“By abstaining from federal funding programs,” the college’s president, Kevin D. Roberts, said in a news release, “we will safeguard our mission from unwarrante...


Education Dept. to Drop 5 Collection Agencies Over ‘Deceptive Practices’Open in a New Window

[Updated (3/2/2015, 12:35 p.m.) with response from a trade association representing the five agencies.]

The U.S. Education Department is cutting ties with five private collection agencies that it says provided inaccurate information to student-loan borrowers. In an announcement late Friday, the department also said it would step up its monitoring and guidance of such collection agencies, which work under government contracts, to ensure that they give borrowers accurate data on their loans.

The ...


La. Governor’s Proposed $211-Million Cut for Colleges Is Smaller Than FearedOpen in a New Window

Louisiana's public colleges would face a significantly smaller funding cut than initially feared under a budget proposal unveiled on Friday by Gov. Bobby Jindal, The Advocate reports. In recent weeks leaders panicked over the $400-million figure being floated as the amount that could be cut from the state's public colleges. Mr. Jindal's latest proposal would drop that figure to $211-million, and the plan suggests ways to mitigate the cut, including selling off parts of campuses and allowing colleges to raise their graduate students' tuition. F. King Alexander, president of the Louisiana State University system, said on Friday he was optimistic that leaders could work with legislators to further lessen the proposed cuts. "This is the worst-case scenario, and it could only get better from here," he said. Mr. Jindal is one of a handful of governors across the country who have proposed drastic cuts in public higher education.

Southern University System President Ron Mason noted that the cuts outlined by Jindal’s administration are much less than higher education leaders had been bracing for, but still significant. “The only manageable scenario is zero cuts,” he said. Jindal’s plan offers up several recommendations for filling the gap in funding: increased fees for students -- dubbed “excellence fees,” increasing the price of advanced degrees that aren’t directly tied to the state’s Taylor Opportunity Program, giving the schools more autonomy over risk management, and raising the state’s cigarette tax to provide a tax credit program for students and businesses that donate to colleges and universities.

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Diversity Declined at Medical Schools Barred From Considering Applicants’ RaceOpen in a New Window

Report: “Racial Diversity in the Medical Profession: The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans on Underrepresented Student of Color Matriculation in Medical Schools”

Authors: Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, and David Mickey-Pabello, doctoral student in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Summary: The study, published in the March/April issue of The Journal of Higher Education, attempts to gauge how medic...


UNC Athletes Got Special Treatment in Grad Admissions, Former Official SaysOpen in a New Window

The academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has focused largely on how fake undergraduate classes helped athletes maintain their eligibility to compete. In an article in The News & Observer over the weekend, a former UNC official says athletics officials also sometimes asked the university's graduate school to bend the rules to admit athletes in order to extend their eligibility. Cheryl Thomas, who was the graduate school’s admissions director from 2002 to 2010, told the newspaper that, roughly once a year during that period, someone from the athletics department or the UNC administration would contact her with a request to find a place for an athlete. She gave the newspaper details about two athletes—a football player and a men's basketball player—who were admitted to graduate programs under such circumstances. Neither player completed his program; one of them skipped classes and examinations, and flunked out. Ms. Thomas said her unwillingness to toe the line over such admissions, along with other unrelated management concerns, put her at odds with her supervisors. She resigned in 2010 after nearly 22 years as a university employee. The current dean of the graduate school and a former dean who admitted one of the athletes said academic departments have different criteria for admission and can request exceptions to allow for a late application or low grades and test scores. They declined to discuss decisions regarding specific students.

Ms. Thomas said admitting unqualified athletes to highly competitive graduate-school programs so they can continue playing is fundamentally wrong. UNC’s graduate school typically rejects about two-thirds of the roughly 15,000 students who apply each year. “You can’t turn down thousands of people and say yes to one just so he can play basketball,” she said.

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Review Finds Flaws in U. of Minnesota’s Handling of Vulnerable Human SubjectsOpen in a New Window

An external review of the University of Minnesota’s research practices has found flaws in its handling of human subjects, particularly patients who are at risk of impaired decision making or are otherwise vulnerable, the Pioneer Press reports.

The release on Friday of a report describing the review’s findings followed years of controversy over the death of Dan Markingson, a schizophrenia patient who was participating in a drug trial at the university. Mr. Markingson committed suicide in 2004 at ...


Amid Protests, U. of North Carolina Board Votes to Close Poverty CenterOpen in a New Window

The University of North Carolina system’s governing board has unanimously approved a proposal to close a center on poverty at the Chapel Hill flagship, a move critics have called politically motivated, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The controversial vote capped a Friday meeting that was briefly derailed by student protests. The interruption prompted the Board of Governors to relocate to another room that the protesters were barred from entering.

The proposal to close the Center on Poverty, Wo...

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