Senate Approves Jobs, Education Aid for Veterans
Super Committee Deadline Approaches, No Agreement in Sight
ACE's Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement Report Informs Next Steps for American Higher Education
IN BRIEF: Webinar on Title IX and Campus Sexual Assaults; Webinar on Faculty Retirement; Comments on Patent Prior User Rights; Access and Diversity Workshop at Rice University
I'm writing to you on Thursday as ACE's offices will be closed tomorrow for Veterans Day, a holiday which also provided the incentive the Senate seemed to need in its third attempt to approve a small portion of President Obama's $47 billion jobs bill. Senators voted 95-0 this afternoon to repeal the 3 percent withholding rule which included an amendment aimed at helping returning veterans transition to civilian employment and an extension of GI Bill benefits for some.
The primary bill repeals a measure requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of payments to government contractors, including colleges and universities, starting in 2013. The veterans jobs amendment, offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), was originally the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Senate version of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (H.R. 2433) passed by the House on Oct. 13. We strongly support the measure, which should help create a pathway for tens of thousands of veterans to attend postsecondary institutions and obtain the training and credentials they need to successfully enter the work force.
Specifically, the plan would extend training programs for veterans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and help older veterans of past wars by providing up to a year of additional GI Bill benefits. It also includes a provision which extends tax credits for companies that hire unemployed veterans and increases an existing credit to companies that hire those with service-related disabilities.
The bill now returns to the House for final approval.
With two weeks to go until to the Nov. 23 deadline, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Super Committee) appears deadlocked over how to reduce the federal budget deficit.
The National Journal pointed out this morning that the Super Committee has missed a soft deadline to deliver a plan to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to evaluate and determine how much money it saves. Committee staff and the CBO have both said CBO's review needed to happen by the end of October or early November in order to meet the Nov. 23 deadline.
If the committee cannot come to an agreement that is approved by the full Congress, $1.2 trillion in cuts will go into effect automatically in January 2013—$600 billion from the Defense budget and $600 billion from other federal agencies, including the Education Department.
We released a report this week summarizing the ideas and recommendations put forward by ACE's Blue Ribbon Panel for Global Engagement that we hope will become the cornerstone for the Council's international efforts in the coming years.
Strength through Global Leadership and Engagement: U.S. Higher Education in the 21st Century takes an in-depth look at the growth of international networks and the global relationships in which scholars and institutions have become increasingly involved. It emphasizes that today's graduates must be prepared for interaction throughout their careers with peers in other countries. Based on that information, the report makes recommendations for institutions to ensure their long-term success through international collaboration.
The report also includes a section about how ACE can better serve you as your campuses continue to respond to the new global environment. To accomplish those ends, we have created a new Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, to be led by Patti McGill Peterson, presidential advisor for global initiatives.
My deepest thanks to panel Chair John Sexton, president of New York University, and everyone who served for all their dedicated work over the past year.
ACE, United Educators, CUPA-HR and the National Association of College and University Attorneys will host a webinar Nov. 16 to help campuses understand how to comply with Title IX in matters involving sexual assault. The event, scheduled for 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET, will be moderated by ACE General Counsel Ada Meloy. Panelists will address the major challenges institutions of higher education face in interpreting and implementing the Dear Colleague letter issued by the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. The registration deadline is Nov. 14.
The TIAA-CREF Institute and ACE will present an interactive webinar Dec. 2, 2011, on trends in managing faculty retirements in the current economic climate. A panel of experts will discuss the implications of new research exploring the mindset of older faculty considering retirement along with innovative strategies to address the challenge.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has requested information from universities on patent prior user rights as it prepares to compile a report on the subject as mandated by the new America Invents Act. ACE, as a member of the Higher Education Coalition for Patent Reform, submitted comments this week in response. "Prior user rights remains a concept uncomfortably arrayed against the Constitutional and public purposes of U.S. patent law, yet there is evidence that it can serve a legitimate purpose in protecting commercial products and processes from the non-productive practices that have arisen in the increasingly complex and litigious patent environment," the groups wrote in part. "An objective, thoughtful analysis of these issues by the USPTO in its congressionally mandated study can provide valuable information and analysis for policy makers as the issue of prior user rights continues to be evaluated."
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is pleased to announce the second two-day workshop in Phase 2 of a multi-year National Science Foundation-funded Law & Diversity project. The workshop, scheduled for Dec. 6-7, 2011, at Rice University (TX), will focus on both faculty and student access and diversity issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Information on registration and lodging is available at www.cvent.com/d/hcqmc1.
Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE