Higher education headlines for Sept. 20-Oct. 4

In each edition, the University Times will be spotlighting articles from around the Internet about the unique issues confronting higher education and how they affect faculty and staff.

Here are some of the top headlines from the past two weeks:

Harvard’s $9.6 billion capital campaign sets new record

Harvard University raised $9.6 billion over five years in the recently completed capital campaign. The school surpassed its original goal by more than $3 billion and set a record as the most ever raised by a single institute of higher education. The sum is more than one and a half times the amount the previous record-holder, Stanford, raised in its last capital campaign.

— Harvard Crimson, Sept. 20

Ohio State official organizing women of color department chairs

Monica F. Cox, chair of the Department of Engineering Education at Ohio State University, is launching a national network for women of color department chairs.

Cox has been in her current position since 2016. She is one of only three black female chairs at Ohio State, which has about 60,000 students.

While the network is still in the making and doesn’t yet have an official name, Cox said she’s already received a lot of positive feedback about the idea after tweeting about it.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Sept. 19

WVU bans five fraternities that tried to break away

West Virginia University has banned five fraternities for at least 10 years that had announced they were breaking away to form an independent group.

President E. Gordon Gee announced the move — “with a heavy heart” — in a campus letter. The five are Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi.

In August, several organizations, some facing sanctions, indicated their desire to form an independent interfraternity council, citing among their grievances a school decision to delay freshmen rush activities until the spring. The delay was part of a wider university effort to curb trouble within the Greek system. It followed the Nov. 14, 2014, death of Nolan Burch, a 19-year-old freshman Kappa Sigma member.

University officials including Gee, fraternities and the North American Interfraternity Conference entered talks to resolve the matter, but in his letter, Gee said the chapters ignored the university’s new directives.

Post-Gazette, Sept. 28

Penn State promotes non-tenure-track, full-time faculty members

Penn State is claiming success on how it rewards the approximately 50 percent of its faculty members who teach full-time but are not on the tenure track.

Central administrators told the Faculty Senate in September that in one year, 184 non-tenure-track faculty members have been promoted: 40 to assistant teaching or research professor, 94 to associate teaching or research professor and 50 to full teaching or research professor.

Of those professors, 150 now hold multi-year contracts, with 115 securing contracts of three years or more. Thirty-five professors hold two-year contracts and the rest hold one-year contracts. These new contracts come with raises.

Inside Higher Education, Oct. 1

Carnegie Mellon tops numbers in city in sexual assault report

The seven colleges and universities within the Pittsburgh city limits — CMU, Pitt, Carlow, Chatham, Duquesne, Point Park and Community College of Allegheny County — reported their annual reports on sexual assaults.

Carnegie Mellon reported the highest number of assaults, including rape, dating violence and stalking, but officials attributed the higher numbers to better reporting practices.

Pitt reported 35 rapes, 22 fondling incidents, seven dating violence, two domestic violence, 10 stalking incidents and 20 off-campus sexual assaults.

Under the 1990 Clery Act — named for Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in 1986 in her Lehigh University dorm room — universities must document and make public reports of sexual assaults.

Post-Gazette, Oct. 3