Thursday, April 18, 2024

UC Berkeley’s new chancellor faces budget crisis, campus protests, housing shortage - Nanette Asimov, SF Chronicle

UC Berkeley, which faces a massive budget gap, is getting a new chancellor with economic chops. The University of California announced Wednesday that it has chosen Richard Lyons, its chief innovation officer and former dean of the Haas School of Business, as the 12th chancellor of UC Berkeley, following a six-month search.  Lyons, 63, an economist who has been a professor of economics and finance at the Haas School since 1993, will take over the top job from Chancellor Carol Christ on July 1, UC President Michael Drake said at UCLA, where regents met in committees.

American University Board of Trustees announces reduced budget for fiscal year 2025 Budget reduced $34 million from previous year, following deficit - Penelope Jennings and Luna Jinks, the Eagle

American University’s budget for fiscal year 2025 will total $860 million, compared to $894 million this year, Board of Trustees Chair Gina Adams announced in an email Thursday afternoon. This comes after the University announced a $33 million budget deficit due primarily to lower enrollment numbers in August 2023. The University announced an additional $1.3 million deficit in January 2024. Fiscal year 2025 will begin on July 1, the same day that the University’s presidency turns over to Jonathan Alger. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Full-time Faculty Raises Finally Beat Inflation … Just Barely - Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed

With the dollar’s declining value taken into account, new data shows that real wages grew by half a percent. But pay remains well below pre-pandemic levels, and full-time women and part-timers continue to receive less than others. The survey shows that full-time faculty members’ average salary among the participating institutions has increased to $112,000. (With some exceptions, it includes data for nonmedical instructional faculty members.) In inflation-adjusted dollars, however, that’s still far below the $120,000 average in fall 2019, before the pandemic hit. And all categories of full-time faculty members, save for full professors (who now average over $155,000), make less than the average, so it’s not a good representation of faculty pay overall. 

Degrees Earned Fall Again, Certificates Rise - Sara Weissman, Inside Higher Ed

Fewer people are earning degrees for the second year in a row, but certificates are having a moment, according to a new report.  The latest “Undergraduate Degree Earners” report, released Thursday, showed that almost 100,000 fewer people earned bachelor’s and associate degrees or certificates during the 2022–23 academic year, a 2.8 percent decrease. The number of certificate earners, meanwhile, is higher than it’s been in a decade, the report found. Students who earned these kinds of credentials increased by about 4 percent.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

St. Norbert College counters budget deficit with 12 academic programs Ashley Kaster, FOX 11

As part of its plan to fix its budget issues, St. Norbert College is offering 12 new academic programs. The new class offerings will help raise revenue as the college deals with a $9.2 million combined budget deficit for the '24 and '25 financial years. “These new initiatives not only expand the horizons of our students, reflecting our commitment to providing students with cutting-edge and relevant academic programs, but also align seamlessly with our mission to address the evolving needs of the local community. By providing diverse and innovative learning opportunities, we empower our students to become catalysts for positive change, contributing meaningfully to the growth and well-being of our community,” said St. Norbert College President Laurie Joyner. “This milestone reflects our dedication to shaping future leaders who are not only academically proficient but also deeply connected to the transformative impact they can make in the world.”

City College of San Francisco will face a ‘death spiral’ if its trustees don’t act soon - SF Chronicle

If City College were to lose its accreditation, the school would no longer be eligible for federal funding and students’ course credits would no longer be recognized by employers or four-year colleges. In other words, it would cease to be a school as we understand it. Unfortunately, City College is once again tempting fate due to poor decision making by its seven-member elected Board of Trustees. Despite the college’s bleak budget outlook, trustees unanimously passed a resolution to restore faculty positions cut in 2022 and recently voted to pay down the school’s retiree health liability more slowly than recommended.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Cleveland State prepares to offer buyouts to faculty, staff amid financial trouble - Amy Morona, Signal Cleveland

Cleveland State University is preparing to offer faculty and staff voluntary buyout packages to help close a projected $40 million budget gap. At a faculty senate meeting Wednesday, President Laura Bloomberg repeated that the university must “manage to our reality” – one that now, according to new projections, could see the university enrolling about 13,000 students by 2029.  That’s a far cry from the total enrollment of 20,000 former President Harlan Sands pledged to hit by 2025 as part of the ambitious “CSU 2.0” plan. Last fall, the university enrolled about 14,175 total students, down about 13% from the nearly 16,330 students who took classes there in 2018. Fewer students, of course, mean fewer dollars coming in.  

GOP Lawmakers Are Using the Budget to Pressure Kansas' Governor on DEI and Immigration - Associated Press

Republicans are likely to approve a proposed state budget for Kansas with provisions aimed at forcing the state's Democratic governor to restrict diversity initiatives on college campuses and help Texas in its fight with the Biden administration over border security. GOP negotiators for the state House and Senate have agreed to include those items in a single bill containing the bulk of the $25 billion in spending for Kansas' 2025 budget year, which begins July 1. Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature expect both chambers to vote this week on the final version of the bill.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

How Lesley University Descended Into Crisis - Julian J. Giordano, Harvard Crimson

Nearly five years later and 15 months into Steinmayer’s “Better Lesley” plan, low-enrollment programs have been cut, a $100 million campus renovation plan to consolidate and sell unused buildings is underway, and the university is on a plan to reach financial equilibrium by the 2026 fiscal year. But in the process, the university has laid off nearly 20 percent of core faculty members, cut most of its social science programs, and seen enrollment drop by an additional 45 percent since 2019 — all while remaining more than $100 million in debt. Now, faculty and students have revolted, saying in interviews and in three faculty votes of no confidence that Steinmayer is not the right person to lead the university through a time of peril.

Advancing Gender Equality in Data, Analytics, and AI - Women in AI, Omdia, AI Business

“We've made progress, but we still aren't where we want to be,” said Dhawan. “Bias may sometimes emanate from both the top down and the company culture, which is why it's important to support more efforts and dialogues with women. We want men to actively support women as well, so it's not just about women helping women. It's a deeply ingrained social system that we must address now more than ever before.” Findings from the Omdia, AI Business and Women in AI survey uncovered several key areas where work can be done to improve gender equity in the AI industry

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Generative AI vs AI tools in higher education Carlie Rutledge, the Prairie News

Turnitin has an AI detector embedded in its website to detect when students have used generative AI and/or AI tools. When students submit assignments to Turnitin, the site compares their work to other sources to see how similar it can be. It will produce a similarity grade and alert the professors of this grade. Depending on the similar average, the student might be accused of plagiarism. This happened to one student at the University of North Georgia Dahlonega Campus. Student Marley Stevens used the generative AI tool Grammarly to help with her criminal justice paper. After submitting it to Turnitin, she was flagged for plagiarism and put on academic probation. She now advises all students to check with their teachers to ensure that AI tools like Grammarly are okay to use on assignments.

Cleveland State sets special board meeting to consider faculty, staff buyout offers - Amy Morona, Signal Cleveland

The university’s board of trustees will consider the proposal at a newly scheduled special board meeting Tuesday, April 9.  As Signal Cleveland recently reported, Cleveland State President Laura Bloomberg told faculty about the buyout proposal earlier this week. Bloomberg said she plans to ask the board for $9 million to pay for those buyouts. That money would come from a one-time draw from the institution’s reserves, she said at a faculty senate meeting Wednesday, April 3. The university is dealing with a projected $40 million budget gap. Implementing these voluntary separation incentive programs, she said, will help save more money over time. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

University of Arizona deficit cut from $177 million to $162 million - Ellie Wolfe,

After an initial round of budget cuts and spending measures, the University of Arizona’s deficit has shrunk from $177 million to $162 million, says interim Chief Financial Officer John Arnold. Arnold gave an update on the “good news” for UA’s finances to the Arizona Board of Regents’ University Governance and Operations committee on Thursday. The UA’s current cash balance is $748 million, or $157 million less than it was last year at this time.

Northland College misses fundraising target, but will stay open — for now - Ben Unglesbee, Higher Ed Dive

After warning in March of potential closure, Northland College will stay open for now but declared financial exigency, the board of trustees announced Thursday evening. The board said it would make “a final decision” about the college’s future in two weeks. In declaring exigency, Wisconsin-based Northland is formally recognizing a “serious financial crisis,” the board said. The process will focus on a new structure for the college, engagement with donors and the institution’s budget options, which would likely include cuts to staff and programs. Northland had set a $12 million fundraising goal with an April 3 deadline. Northland fell well short of the target but managed to raise $1.5 million, a record for the college, from 900-plus donations in less than a month.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Layoffs begin as UA navigates big budget shortfall - Eric Fink, KVOA

University of Arizona leaders say a round layoffs is underway as the the university continues a financial restructuring to deal with a budget deficit north of $160 million. "Dozens of separations have already occurred across campus and they will continue to occur," UA interim Chief Financial Officer John Arnold said. "I don't anticipate a single day where we announce hundreds of layoffs. It will take place overtime and be more piecemeal. Everything from high-end paid individuals to very low end paid-individuals." University of Arizona Faculty Senate Chair Leila Hudson is upset by the layoffs and argues it did not have to be this way.

UW-Oshkosh faculty vote no confidence in chancellor amid layoffs, budget challenges - Joe Schulz, Wisconsin Public Radio

Nearly three-quarters of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh do not approve of Chancellor Andrew Leavitt’s job performance. According to the Faculty Senate, 72 percent of faculty who voted in a formal referendum said they have no confidence in Leavitt. Of the university’s 281 faculty members, 229 participated in the vote.  The no confidence vote is largely symbolic. It comes after the university laid off 140 staff members and another 76 took early retirement incentives.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Tuition hikes coming this fall for students headed to Oregon’s largest universities - Tiffany Camhi, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Schools looking to keep up with inflation and other rising costs are looking toward student tuition to help fill budget gaps. It’s tuition-setting season for Oregon’s colleges and universities and the cost of getting a higher education in the state is going up. Oregon’s largest public postsecondary schools, including Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon are all raising tuition for the 2024-2025 school year. The Board of Trustees for OSU voted Friday to raise tuition costs for resident undergraduate students at its Corvallis campus by 4.91%. Undergrads at the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend will see a similar increase of 4.7%. These hikes equal out to a $11 to $12 increase per credit hour.

Disabled veterans urge Youngkin to use line-item veto on budget language affecting college tuition waiver program - Tyler Englander, 8 News

They were hurt serving our country and now they say Virginia is turning its back on them.  We’re talking about military veterans permanently disabled due to their military service.  They say language in the state budget that is currently sitting on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk would change how a college tuition waiver program for families of totally or near-totally disabled veterans is run. “I have to go to my kids now and tell them we got to make some changes,” said Christian Soldat, a 100% disabled Army Veteran. “I got to figure out how I’m going to get your education at the higher education level.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Inching Toward the $100,000 Sticker Price - Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed

Some selective institutions are expected to hit six figures soon, though such pricing will likely have more of a psychological and political impact than a financial one. For years, headlines have warned that the cost of attending college would eventually exceed $100,000-a-year at some institutions. Law schools at Columbia and Stanford Universities and the University of Chicago crossed that threshold in 2019; some higher ed experts predicted that the most expensive private four-year institutions would join them by 2030. Now that barrier could be broken as early as next year, some believe.

Struggling Vermont College of Fine Arts Finds Affiliate - Kathryn Palmer, Inside Higher Ed

The Vermont College of Fine Arts, which has been seeking a buyer or partner to help it stay financially stable, will soon be affiliated with the California Institute of the Arts. “The affiliation between our schools will strengthen both institutions and allow us both to continue to broaden the range of academic opportunities and creative collaborations available to artists,” Ravi Rajan, president of the California art institute, said in a press release Tuesday. “Together, we are expanding the arts ecosystem and supporting intergenerational learning that keeps artists at the center of all that we do.”

Monday, April 8, 2024

Healthcare-focused Oak Point University to close abruptly in April - Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive

Oak Point University, a healthcare-focused institution in Chicago, will shutter next month, giving students little forewarning. Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, said Wednesday it established a teach-out agreement to accept students of the closing university, and all credits earned toward a degree at Oak Point will transfer. In recent years, Oak Point has faced declining enrollment and increased monitoring from the state nursing board and its accreditor.