Colleges Column

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Jane Templeton taught high school in the Midwest for eight years, but now she works part time in a law firm specializing in "school law" while she completes an interdisciplinary degree program in law and education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Templeton, according to the university, became the first student to sign up for the new program established last fall when she switched out of the second-year law class in which she had been enrolled.

Illinois is one of only a handful of universities to launch programs that recognize that "the schools have become legitimate game for the courts," in the words of the program's director, Paul Thurston. He argues that the increasing legal entanglements of education require that school administrators have "legal expertise." He cites the growing number of college presidents and administrators with law degrees and of legal advisers assisting public-school systems.

Under the Illinois program, students can earn a law degree and a master's degree in education in three and a half years, and a law degree and a doctorate in education in five to six years.

Donors to America's nonprofit sector appear to have responded over the past year to President Reagan's call for increased private philanthropy. Educational and charitable institutions received a record $53.6 billion in gifts in 1981 from individuals, corporations, and foundations. That total represented a 12.3-percent increase in giving over the previous year, the largest such increase ever recorded by the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, which makes annual estimates of charitable-giving levels.

Of the total, an estimated $7.5 billion went to education, including church-related and other private elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. Also included is money given for education-related research conducted at educational institutions.

Individuals donated 83 percent of the total, most of which went to churches. The gifts received by colleges and universities were estimated by the Council for Financial Aid to Education to total $4.2 billion, an increase of 11.3 percent over the previous year's figure.

Copies of the fund-raising group's report, Giving U.S.A., are available for $25 each (for nonsubscribers) from the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, 25 West 43rd St., Suite 1519, New York, N.Y. 10036.

A California community college whose only campus is a television screen has been accused by faculty members of the California State University system of offering academically substandard fare.

The school in question, Coastline Community College, uses facilities of other community colleges to film its 27 televised courses and beam them to about 5,000 students. Faculty members at some of the participating institutions complain that Coastline students earn three credits for 15 hours of television viewing, while students in other community colleges spend from 54 to 72 hours to do so. The senate of the state-university system has asked the administration to investigate whether it accepts Coastline's credits for transfer purposes.

In addition to offering courses, Coastline is one of the largest producers of video instructional programs at the college level and has more than 800 colleges and universities as clients.

The University of Texas at Austin will be focusing on gifted students from all angles this month. Parents, teachers, and gifted students themselves are invited to participate in workshops and programs designed with their particular perspective on the subject in mind.

"The Breadth of the Intellect" is the theme of a June 20-July 2 on-campus program for gifted high-school students. Faculty members in the fields of astronomy, zoology, economics, anthropology, journalism, and art will lead students through discussions and demonstrations of current ideas in their disciplines. The fee of $495 for the program covers food, lodging on campus, materials, field trips, and recreational activities. Applications are available from the Gifted Students Institute, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 1119, Arlington, Tex. 76011; (817) 265-7143.

Parents of the gifted, meanwhile, are offered a two-day workshop on how to understand their offspring. Cost for the June 20-21 program is $100 per couple, or $65 for one person. And courses, which offer graduate credit for teachers, on the psychological and psychosocial adjustment of gifted students will be held starting this week on the Austin campus. Further information is available from the Department of Educational Psychology.

A bill that would limit competition from foreign-born professionals for U.S. high-technology jobs and would most likely affect the composition of faculties at many American colleges and universities is working its way through Congress.

The bill, which is ardently supported by professional engineers and equally vehemently opposed by executives of high-technology firms, would require that foreign students trained at American colleges return to their native countries for two years following their graduation here. Only after satisfying that requirement could they apply for permanent residency in the U.S.

Its supporters say the new policy would help end U.S. dependence on the skills of foreigners and would reverse the depression in salary scales caused by the willingness of foreigners to work for less money. They also argue that foreign students should apply their skills where they are most needed--at home.

Critics of the measure say it will have a negative economic impact and will drive essential technical talent into the arms of competing nations. In addition, some argue, it would deplete the junior faculty ranks in engineering and other science departments of colleges and universities, which include significant numbers of foreign instructors.

In 1979, according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 14,728 foreign students changed their immigration status to become permanent resident aliens. That year, 40 percent of the 16,000 engineering graduates in the U.S. were foreign nationals, according to the National Science Foundation.

Officials of an institution with campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., say they think they've landed several million dollars and some new trustees as the result of a direct appeal for same in The Wall Street Journal this month.

The advertisement offered a "limited opportunity to BECOME A TRUSTEE OF A MAJOR PRIVATE UNIVERSITY and help determine the future of higher education in America," to readers "willing to invest $1,000,000 cash (minimum) for financial assistance to students."

Said Chancellor Jeffrey Ledewitz of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: "The university does not view what we're doing as any different philosophically than institutions that name buildings after people or give honorary doctorates. Higher education in reality is a business. I don't think there's anything wrong with being very direct." Embry-Riddle, he said, would use any contributions resulting from the ad to provide a revolving loan fund for its 6,000 students. But so far, contacts with possible donors have not gone beyond the discussion stage.

Washington University has sealed the largest research agreement ever made between a university and an American company. The Monsanto Company will pay its St. Louis neighbor $25 million over the next five years to conduct research on the regulation of cellular functions in combatting disease.

--Martha Matzke

Vol. 01, Issue 38

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