Daily Debriefing

by Diana Ming | 5/9/12 10:00pm

Several Texas universities have begun offering $10,000 degree programs in response to a call from Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, for the state's public universities to provide more affordable higher education, Inside Higher Education reported on Wednesday. In his February 2011 State of the State address, Perry challenged Texas universities to provide a full four-year bachelor's degree, including the cost of books, for $10,000 or less. The most recent university to announce a $10,000 degree is the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, which will offer a Texas Science Scholars program to students who enter college prepared for college-level mathematics and science, according to Inside Higher Ed. While Perry's highly publicized call caused many universities to experiment with their degree offerings, the result has mostly been "niche programs" that incorporate community college and dual-enrollment high school credit and are not available to students in most disciplines, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Davidson College, a Presbyterian institution, is reconsidering its requirement that its president must be Presbyterian, Inside Higher Education reported. During the search committee process for its new president in 2010, Davidson said it would reconsider its requirement and subsequently appointed a committee of 10 trustees in April to examine the College's "church-relatedness," though it selected a Presbyterian candidate, according to Inside Higher Ed. The trustee committee has met twice and plans to study the policies of other Presbyterian colleges. It will also meet with students and alumni before making a decision by next year, Inside Higher Ed reported. Davidson's rethinking of its requirement represents the growing problem of church-affiliated institutions that are still "largely secular" continuing to honor their historical ties to a denomination, even if the denomination does not affect the college's daily operations, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The University of Michigan recently started a program called MCubed on Wednesday that offers faculty members microgrants to finance the "exploratory phase" of an idea, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The program aims to promote interdisciplinary work and offer a source of funding other than federal grants, which have decreased in availability in recent years, according to The Chronicle. All Michigan faculty will be eligible for a $20,000 grant if they work on an approved project with two other faculty members, including one outside of their academic field, according to The Chronicle. The program, which appears to be the first of its kind among U.S. research universities, will allow Michigan to help faculty members pursue "high-risk, high-reward" projects, university President Mary Sue Coleman said.