Colleges Column

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One of the members of the U.S. Education Department's task force on undergraduate education warned recently that colleges and universities must take a long-range view of faculty development because they will have to hire as many as 500,000 new faculty members in the next 25 years.

That estimate represents virtually the entire professoriate of higher education.

"We will be founding our institutions anew," said Howard R. Bowen, professor of economics and education at the Claremont Graduate School. Although the largest surge in hiring will take place a decade or more from now, Mr. Bowen said, new faculty members will be needed annually before then. Moreover, he said, it is not too early to ponder the implications of future demand since it takes about a decade to produce a doctoral-degree holder.

The executive bodies of the National Collegiate Athletic Association agreed this month to postpone any action to revise Proposition 48, the controversial rule that will in 1986 require freshman athletes to meet higher academic standards to participate in Division I athletics.

Division I includes the ncaa's largest intercollegiate-sports powers, principally state universities.

On the basis of concerns expressed by many college officials, including the presidents of historically black colleges, ncaa leaders had earlier considered asking their members to approve several modifications to the rule at their annual meeting in January. But Ted C. Tow, executive director of the ncaa, said the association's leaders concurred that the proposals should be studied further.

Meanwhile, the association is awaiting the Kansas Supreme Court's decision in a suit, brought by local officials of the county in which the ncaa has its headquarters, that contends the group should not be exempt from local property taxes. The officials say the ncaa is not an educational institution under the terms of the state's tax laws. Should it lose the case, the ncaa would be liable for about $60,000 in taxes and penalties.

College and university officials, who have been talking about enrollment declines for a decade and watching closely for them in recent years, this fall report these signs of changing demographics:

Overall enrollment in American medical schools has dropped for the first time in 37 years--from 67,327 students last year to 67,016. And the number of entering medical students dropped this fall for the third year in a row, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Women's share of the enrollment, however, rose to 31.8 percent--from 24.3 percent in 1978-79.

Law schools last year experienced their first enrollment decline since 1968, and applications for this fall were down as much as 20 percent in some instances, according to the Law School Admission Council. More than 80 percent of the institutions accredited by the American Bar Association reported a decrease in applications.

Two-year colleges may experience their largest enrollment decline in more than 20 years this fall. Although national figures have not yet been compiled, some institutions have reported drops of more than 10 percent this fall, and officials of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges are anticipating an overall decline of about 4 percent--despite growth at two-year institutions in some Sunbelt areas.

Some officials are saying that the pool of older, returning students that partially insulated the two-year institutions against the drop in the 18-to-22-year-old population is no longer as large.

State support for needy college students has jumped by an estimated 14 percent for this year, according to the preliminary results of a study by the National Association of State Scholarship and Grant Programs.

States will spend most of their student-aid funds, or about $1.2 billion, on need-based grants and scholarships for undergraduates, the study predicts. The states spent some $1 billion on such programs last year. Since 1978, according to the study, the average growth in state aid programs has been about 10 percent annually until this year.

The Ford Foundation has selected five urban community colleges to participate in a $1-million program intended to help students at such schools transfer to four-year institutions.

The five recipients were selected as having the strongest transfer programs from a group of 24 institutions that initially shared $600,000 in Ford grants to improve their support services for students. The original grants were to be used for counseling, identifying potential transfer students, and strengthening the curriculum in ways that would aid such students.

The participating schools include La Guardia Community College, New York City; Community College of Philadelphia; Miami Dade Community College; South Mountain Community College, Phoenix; and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland.

A young electronics expert who spent three years studying how to capture television signals from the Soviet Union has helped Columbia University establish the first such campus-based monitoring system in this country. The first Russian television images received this fall included interviews with steel workers and a wheat farmer, and views of dancers and bicyclists in a gym.

Columbia officials report that students and scholars in its Russian studies program have been coming in early and staying late to see the some 15 hours of live programs from Moscow that are received daily.

The University of California at Los Angeles has become the first institution in the California university system to establish an interdisciplinary center for the study of women and issues related to women.


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