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In Brief: The Recession and Higher Ed

Georgia colleges to furlough employees 6 days

The Georgia Board of Regents approved the mandatory unpaid leave for about 40,000 employees Wednesday as a way to save the University System of Georgia about $42 million. 

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the furloughs are among a series of cuts facing the system’s 35 colleges as Georgia suffers through the current economic crisis. University officials said the cuts will result in larger classes and fewer course offerings and could make it difficult for students to graduate on time.

UI President pledges to reform admissions process

B. Joseph White, the president of the University of Illinois,  said Wednesday that the university has eliminated the “Category I” tracking system that gave preferential treatment to politically connected applicants, and prohibited university lobbyists from becoming involved in admissions.

 The News-Gazette reported that White promised to execute all of the admissions changes recommended last week by the state commission chaired by former judge and Congressman Abner Mikva within the next eight weeks, “in time for the upcoming 2009-2010 admissions season.”

Georgia Tech professor faces 15 counts of sexual exploitation

Faiz Al-Khayyal , a Georgia Tech associate professor, was arrested and booked into the Fulton County jail Wednesday night after being charged with 15 counts of sexual exploitation of children, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. 

The university previously suspended the professor without pay for violating the computer-use policy. A university official said that illicit computer activity prompted the university to contact law enforcement.

College Textbooks Hit iPhone, iPod Touch

CourseSmart, located in San Mateo, Calif., has added a new program that will allow college students to read their books using iPhones or iPod Touch devices. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, CourseSmart already makes more than 7,000 college textbooks from 12 publishers available to its subscribers online via their computers.  Now the company has added “eTextbooks for the iPhone,” allowing students to free themselves from having to lug around their heavy laptop computers.

USM may cut classes, faculty positions

The University of Southern Mississippi might close its Jackson County campus, cut several tenured positions and eliminate classes, due to the economic recession.

 According to the Picayune Item, with the help of federal stimulus dollars, the Mississippi Legislature funded higher education this year at about the same level as the previous fiscal year, but the forecast for future funding is dimming. That has prompted most of Mississippi’s eight public universities to take a closer look at spending and strategies.

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