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Inside Ed
Education news and issues
Goucher faculty attempt to join labor union stalled

A recent vote by a group of Goucher College faculty about joining a Washington-based labor union resulted in a deadlock after officials on both sides challenged the legitimacy of some employees' votes.

The outcome has raised concern from some faculty members who say their "visiting" status on campus negated their ballots, and results in them being excluded from a bargaining voice.

Goucher's nontenured faculty, as well as those not on a track for tenure status, voted in late November and early December on whether to join the Service Employees International Union Local 500, which represents workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Local schools that already have SEIU membership include the Maryland Institute College of Art, Montgomery College and several institutions in the Washington area.

Mailed ballots were counted Dec. 9 by the National Labor Relations Board in Baltimore. Officials from Goucher and the union say 81 ballots were tabulated — but 15 weren't counted, and those...

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Towson University president resigns for health reasons

Towson University President Maravene Loeschke, who had been on leave since August after having been diagnosed with cancer, announced her resignation Thursday.

"It is [the] deepest sadness of my life that I find I must resign as president of Towson University because of my health," Loeschke, 67, said in an email to the school community.

The university announced in April that Loeschke had adrenal cancer. Loeschke, an alumna, former professor and dean at Towson, became president in January 2012.

Her announcement came as the school held two winter commencement exercises Thursday, with another scheduled for Friday.

"I was to return in January to continue guiding our goals and vision, but my health will not allow me to give Towson the 100 percent of my attention that it deserves," Loeschke said in the email. "Thank you all for making it possible for me to attempt to fight this disease that so many of us are addressing.

"Any day I have spent at Towson as a student, faculty, chairperson, dean, and...

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USM names former Towson president Caret as new chancellor

The University System of Maryland has named Robert Caret, president of the University of Massachusetts System and a former president of Towson University, as its next chancellor, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Caret will succeed William E. Kirwan, who announced in May that he would step down after 12 years at the helm. Caret said he had orally accepted the job offer and has not yet formally resigned. Caret said he would focus on two primary goals: ensuring students can get a high-quality education at an affordable price, and continuing "to build a research-based economic engine."

"It's an exciting opportunity," Caret said in an interview. "It brings me back to a system I was part of for 29 years, so I have a lot of my life invested in the University System of Maryland. I think I have a skill set that coming back as chancellor will allow me to help them continue to evolve and develop and mature in a lot of ways. They're doing a great job, and I want to make sure that continues to happen."...

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Maryland gets $15 million grant to expand early education

Maryland will be able to provide 3,000 more preschool slots for low-income 4-year-olds with a $15 million federal grant awarded this week.

The U.S. Department of Education announced grants of $226 million to 18 states to expand or develop early education programs as part of more than $1 billion in new federal and private-sector investments in early education.

The O'Malley administration already expanded its full and part-time pre-kindergarten slots this year, providing $4.3 million for 1,563 children. The federal government grant will be given every year for the next four years for up to $60 million in total, if Congress approves it in subsequent years.

Rolf Grafwallner, who heads early education programs for the state, said there is a particular need for places for the children of low- to moderate-income families who make too much to qualify for Head Start but too little to afford the $8,000 to $10,000 they would have to spend to get their child a spot in a high-quality preschool. The...

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USM Chancellor Kirwan says he will remain through February

University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan, who announced in the spring his plans to step down, said this week that he will likely remain in his post at least through February as the search continues for his successor.

A month after Kirwan announced in May that he was leaving after 12 years as chancellor, the system's Board of Regents appointed a 10-member search and screening committee to recruit and review Kirwan's successor.

Kirwan said he will remain in the position until the new chancellor takes over. He said he has consulted with the board on the process and has also suggested names, but he declined to comment on any candidates.

"The search committee is hard at work, and my sense is that it's coming to a conclusion," said Kirwan, speaking in his Adelphi office Wednesday. He said he is not involved in the vetting process. "It could be that [my successor] can't come until June, so I don't want to pinpoint it. But I think [I will remain chancellor] for at least the...

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University of Maryland announces hiring freeze

The University of Maryland, College Park is under a campuswide hiring and construction freeze due to an anticipated state budget shortfall, University President Wallace D. Loh announced Wednesday in a letter to faculty and staff.

Loh said all state agencies have been asked to "immediately begin to limit all discretionary spending" and warned of "additional budget reductions during this fiscal year."

The hiring freeze, effective immediately, will affect all hires except lecturers, graduate assistants and positions funded by external research grants, with "rare exceptions" to meet critical needs. Any new, state-funded renovations or major equipment purchases will be suspended, "unless necessary for safety reasons," Loh wrote.

"Our campus has already borne its share of state-mandated 'preliminary reductions' last year and this year, and more may follow," he wrote.

Loh said he would form a task force of students, faculty, staff and administrators to come up with new ways to save money,...

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