Showing posts with label university. Show all posts
Showing posts with label university. Show all posts

Saturday, August 29, 2020

In the News: "UMass Amherst puts 850 workers on indefinite furloughs"

 From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Citing the “incredible financial cost” associated with not fully reopening its campus this fall, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy has calculated nearly $169 million in budget losses and is now placing 850 workers, including dining and residence hall staff, on indefinite furloughs effective Sept. 13. 
“Because their union representation agreed to a furlough rather than a layoff, they will retain their UMass benefits, including health care, while still being entitled to unemployment benefits,” Subbaswamy wrote in an email Thursday to the campus community. “This agreement will also enable a smooth re-employment process when the campus resumes normal operations.” 
And there will likely be additional labor impacts at the flagship UMass campus. 
“While some permanent layoffs are expected in the coming weeks, we are doing everything possible to lessen the number of layoffs and are currently in discussions with other staff labor unions with the hope of reaching an agreement that prioritizes temporary reductions in hours and furloughs, which will likely impact approximately 450 additional campus employees,” according to Subbaswamy."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

Commonwealth Magazine has a related article on the UMass cuts  


Thursday, April 30, 2020

In the News: “We can’t just pretend everything is normal when we go back to school”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

At-home schooling brings added challenges for special education students and parents
"Alexis Forgit, a Milford High School special education teacher, said some of her pupils have been automatically putting their backpacks on in the morning, not understanding why they are not going to school.

Several weeks ago, Alysia Butler’s sons could step out of class if they felt overwhelmed. One-on-one paraprofessionals, shared aides, behaviorists and other support staff helped them navigate the tough situations that would surface throughout the day.

Class has since shifted onto the online video-conferencing app Zoom in wake of the coronavirus. For the four boys and other children on the autism spectrum, the video calls can be draining.

“Fifteen minutes in, they have to check out,” said Butler, of Hopedale. “They can’t do that (on a Zoom call). You are expected to be there and present.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

UMass Medical School to furlough 100 employees
"UMass Medical School plans to furlough 100 employees for up to six months in an effort to rein in costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school announced the move in an internal memo on Wednesday.

The furloughed workers account for nearly 2% of the medical school’s workforce of around 6,000 employees. They could be brought back sooner than six months, and will still receive their health care coverage while they are furloughed, according to school spokeswoman Sarah Willey.

The furloughs are expected to go into effect next week. Willey did not have any information on Wednesday about which departments would be affected; Wednesday’s memo said they would happen “across all business units.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

In the conversation with State Rep Jeff Roy shared here recently, we talked of his concern for the higher education institutions who were facing financial and demographic challenges before the pandemic came. UMass Medical was the first of three stops made in Worcester on the day I was fortunate to join him for his tour of all 29 higher ed state schools.

Listen to our conversation here

State Rep Jeff Roy in one of the UMass Medical classroom with an interactive system of the body
State Rep Jeff Roy in one of the UMass Medical classroom with an interactive system of the body

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

FTC settlement against University of Phoenix

FTC settlement against University of Phoenix
by Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Most people go to college to earn a degree and get a good job. In a competitive job market, it helps to have connections. So when a college or university claims it has relationships with well-known employers, that may convince you to attend. But beware: Claims like this may be a ploy to attract new students — and your tuition dollars. 

In fact, the FTC says that's just what one for-profit university did as part of an extensive advertising campaign.

Read more

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

FTC settlement against University of Phoenix
FTC settlement against University of Phoenix

Friday, November 15, 2019

Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Support Financial Stability in Higher Education and Protect Students and Families from Abrupt Closures

Thursday, November 14, Governor Charlie Baker joined Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, Senator Anne Gobi, Representative Jeff Roy, the Association of lndependent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), and SEIU Local 509 to sign An Act to Support Improved Financial Stability in Higher Education (H4099) which will clarify and enhance the authority of the Board of Higher Education to monitor the financial health of Massachusetts' colleges and universities. 

This legislation requires any institution facing financial challenges that may jeopardize the institution's ability to fulfill its obligations to current and admitted students to notify the Board of Higher Education, as well as submit a contingency plan for approval that includes arrangements for students to complete their studies.

"Massachusetts is home to some of the world's most impressive public and private colleges and universities that also serve as major employers and drivers of business across the Commonwealth," said Governor Charlie Baker. "We are very pleased to have worked alongside the Legislature to sign this important bill into law that will protect students and families from sudden college closures, while also guaranteeing those institutions confidentiality as the Department of Higher Education works with them to understand their financial status."

"While we do not want to see any college or university close its doors, it is important to ensure sufficient notice to students and staff to make arrangements if the institution where they study or work is at high risk of closure, so they can complete their studies with as little disruption as possible, or have sufficient time to find new employment," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. "This legislation will better protect students, families and higher education professionals."

In March 2019, Governor Baker filed legislation to enhance the authority of the Board of Higher Education to monitor the financial health of Massachusetts' colleges and universities. Under this legislation, colleges and universities shall immediately notify the Board of Higher Education of any known financial liabilities or risks which are reasonably likely to result in the imminent closure of the institution, or negatively affect the institution's ability to fulfill its obligations to current or admitted students. The institution would be required to submit to the Board for approval a contingency plan that includes provisions for providing advance notice to students and staff.

"Through this legislation, the Board and Department of Higher Education can ensure transparency for students and families without being overly burdensome to colleges," said Education Secretary James Peyser.

"We're especially pleased to see the votes on this legislation passing the House and Senate unanimously in recent weeks," said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. "It is a sign of the deep levels of support for our work to monitor institutional finances with the goal of making sure that all students have the ability to complete their programs of study and pursue meaningful careers of their choice."

"Massachusetts has a global reputation for excellence in higher education, and it1s essential for all of us to work together to sustain and burnish public confidence in our colleges and universities," said Chris Gabrieli, Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

The Board of Higher Education will be responsible for establishing an annual process for screening every college and university to assess its financial condition, and to identify any institution that may be at risk of imminent closure. The Department of Higher Education is encouraged to work with the regional accrediting agency to conduct these annual screenings, in lieu of doing the screening itself.

The Board of Higher Education will also establish a training program for members of boards of trustees of public institutions of higher education on the proper governance of an institution of higher education. The instruction will include an overview of open meeting, public records, state procurement laws and state finance provisions established under state law, along with fraud prevention and fiduciary responsibilities.

The legislation signed today paves the way for the Board of Higher Education to vote on regulations by which it will exercise its oversight authority, expected at its December Board meeting.

"I am proud we have taken this important step as a Commonwealth towards furthering transparency and providing stability in our higher education system," said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. "No student's degree aspirations or financial resources should ever be put in limbo due to the sudden closure of their school."

"Today we've taken action to protect students, families, and staff of our higher education institutions by increasing the transparency of the financial health of institutions - requiring stronger oversight, reporting and accountability," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "Thank you to the Higher Education Committee Chairs Jeffrey Roy and Anne Gobi for their diligent work on this legislation and for the support of House Ways and Means Chair Michlewitz and Representative Kenneth Gordon on these issues."

"In the wake of the Mount Ida closure last year, I heard from an extraordinary amount of people who were negatively affected and asked that the legislature take steps to protect students, faculty, and staff," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "I applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting measures such as the development of student-focused contingency plans for public colleges and universities expected to close. This legislation will help to bring stability and transparency to our institutions of higher learning."

"Today is a good day for students, faculty, staff, and the Commonwealth," said Senator Anne M. Gobi, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. "We have shown, in a bipartisan manner, that our institutions of higher learning are important and their stability is necessary. Through these efforts, if problems arise they can be detected early with a set, transparent process in place that will safeguard our students and offer them a path to continue their higher education.

"This is a great day for students and their families, and this legislation will provide transparency and restore confidence in our Higher Education institutions," said Representative Jeff Roy, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. "The strength of our colleges and universities is paramount to our success as a commonwealth, as it promotes civic discourse and drives economic opportunity. When students and their families invest in their future, they deserve to know that their institution stands on a solid foundation. Through this legislation, the state will be a partner in providing transparency and accountability to promote resiliency and financial stability, and to ensure that our students have access to the opportunities that they need, that they can count on, and that deliver for the long-term strength of our state."

"We are fortunate to have vibrant private colleges across the Commonwealth that graduate tens of thousands of students each year who go on to contribute to the Massachusetts economy," said AICUM. "Today's legislation will help ensure that our colleges and universities continue to educate our students, employ our residents, further important research and enhance our host communities. I want to thank Governor Baker, Secretary Peyser, Commissioner Santiago, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo for working collaboratively with AICUM to develop a process that utilizes the expertise and experience of the regional accrediting agency to annually screen our institutions and ensures confidentially to colleges and universities as they participate in the screening process."

Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Support Financial Stability in Higher Education
Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Support Financial Stability in Higher Education (Facebook photo via Rep Roy)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

In the News: Franklin Police - no shave November; Assumption College to change to University

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Officers from Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Bellingham, Millis and Upton police departments are participating in the Home Base No Shave campaign in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program.

Traditionally, police departments have a grooming policy where officers must remain clean-shaven. However, for November, police officers have pledged $100 to forego the traditional grooming policy and grow beards, mustaches and goatees to support Home Base and its mission to provide no-cost clinical care to Veterans and Military Families impacted by the invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

The movement is spearheaded by MBTA Transit Police and Boston Gang Unit Detective Kurt Power, a U.S. Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient who sought care for his own invisible wounds at Home Base."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Ben Franklin and the Franklin Police Department are once again participating in No Shave November
"Ben Franklin and the Franklin Police Department are once again participating in No Shave November"

"Assumption College received approval from the state to become a university and will do so next year, according to an internal memo school leadership sent on Wednesday.

In that message, President Francesco Cesareo said Assumption’s Restructuring Implementation Committee will prepare for that “historic transition” over the next year.

“There’s a lot of work to be done before we can actually turn the switch,” he said in an interview with the Telegram & Gazette, including the development of a “unifying visual identity” for the renamed school, which enrolls around 2,500 students."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Find out more about Assumption at

Note: I graduated from Assumption College in 1976 with an English major and Education minor.