Campus Confidential scours student unions, lecture halls and dorms for the crucial and quirky stories that make colleges and universities special. Share what you’re up to on a Friday night, learning (or not) in that lecture - and what you're looking for in a school search as a new student. Higher education reporter Maura Lerner will keep you informed.

New Liberal Arts dean named at U of M

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: January 8, 2014 - 11:37 AM

John Coleman, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, has been named the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.

Coleman, who has been chair of the political science department at Wisconsin since 2007, is slated to head the U's largest college starting in July 31, pending approval by the Board of Regents.

"John has a track record as a trustworthy and highly effective academic leader," said Provost Karen Hanson in a news release Wednesday announcing his appointment. "He has been a strong and persuasive advocate for the liberal arts."

Coleman is an expert on political parties and elections, and has written or edited six books. The interim dean, Raymond Duvall, also a political scientist, will remain in the position until Coleman arrives.

The previous dean, James Parente Jr., stepped down last June to return to teaching. A professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, he served as dean of liberal arts since 2008.

                                                      

Name the 10-coldest colleges in the country

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: January 3, 2014 - 1:46 PM

The coldest college in America? Minnesota State University in Moorhead, according to a new ranking by the website College Prowler.

A report in the Huffington Post shows that nine of the ten coldest campuses are in Minnesota, based on the Prowler survey. The only outlier isn't far away: The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire came in at No. 5.

The rankings are based on the reviews of students, one of whom said of the Moorhead campus: "The winters are brutal, and summers are too short."

That could probably describe the entire Top 10:

1. Minnesota State U., Moorhead, MN

2. Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

3. College of St. Benedict, Collegeville, MN. (There's no mention of St. John's University, its adjacent partner)

4. St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN.

5. University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

6. Carleton College, Northfield, MN

7. University of Northwestern (formerly Northwestern College), St. Paul

8. Macalester College, St. Paul

9. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

10. Minnesota State University, Mankato.

International students up in Minnesota

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: November 11, 2013 - 11:25 AM

It's probably no surprise that the U of M is the state's biggest magnet for foreign students: last year, the Twin Cities campus alone drew 6,178 international students, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education.

But the next three schools with the largest influx of foreign students are outside the metro area:

St. Cloud State University: 1,215

Minnesota State University Mankato: 885

Minnesota State Universitiy Moorhead: 528

The University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, rounded out the top five, with 448 international students.

In all, Minnesota ranked 19th in the nation, with 13,232 foreign students, an increase of 3.9 percent last year.

Nationally, more than 819,000 international students studied in the U.S. last year, up 7 percent from the year before, according to the full report, called Open Doors 2013.

And where do they come from? The top five countries are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

U of St. Thomas offers retirement incentives

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: November 5, 2013 - 2:23 PM

The University of St. Thomas is offering incentives to employees 55 and older to retire in May, 2014.

The program, announced Monday, will offer a year's salary plus a $7,250 subsidy, to cover health benefits for a year, to faculty and staff who qualify.

Officials did not say how many employees they expect to take advantage of the offer. But in a statement released Monday, they said the voluntary program is "intended to make retirement feasible for faculty and staff who are ready to retire but have had financial or other concerns about moving forward."

The university, based in St. Paul, said the program would allow it to redeploy resources "in ways that best meet the changing needs of students and the institution." The university has said it plans to embark on a strategic planning process to identify those new priorities.

Chief Justice Roberts to teach at William Mitchell summer program - in London

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: October 30, 2013 - 10:52 AM

Chief Justice John Roberts

Next summer, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. will join the faculty of William Mitchell College of Law - for five weeks only - to teach at its summer program in London.

The law school, based in St. Paul, announced Wednesday that Roberts will teach a course next July called "The United States Supreme Court in Historical Perspective."

"This is a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to learn from one of our country's preeminent jurists," said Eric Janus, the president and dean of the law school, in a statement released Wednesday.

William Mitchell sponsors a five-week study abroad program in London that's open to law students across the United States.

A dog named Pete and his online MBA

Posted by: Maura Lerner Updated: October 25, 2013 - 10:35 AM

Pete the dog may not be the best student. But according to a BBC report, the American University of London  granted him an MBA based largely on a made-up account of his life, under the fake name "Pete Smith."

As part of its investigation, the BBC program Newsnight created a fake one-page resume, identifying Pete as a management consultant with 15 years experience and an undergraduate degree from a British university. "The real Pete was actually a dog living in Battersea Dogs' Home," the BBC reported.

The university - described as a distance-learning program - requires applicants to send in a photo and photocopy of their credentials, but the BBC says it simply ignored those rules when it sent in Pete's application.

The response? The university "sent 'Pete' an e-mail saying that his application for a degree based on previous experience had been successful." And that he would get his MBA degree in about two weeks, once the tuition - about $7,200 - was sent in.

When confronted by the news organization, the American University of London issued a statement saying "We are not a bogus university...and have always been upfront about our status. We have not applied for accreditation with any American, British or other official agency." But on the bright side, it said: "Many graduates go on to higher education or hold important positions on the strength of our degrees."

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