August 8, 2008 • $3.75
Volume LIV, Number 48
A Bill That Took Longer Than a Bachelor’s Degree
Some Key Provisions of Bill
Higher Education Act, 5 years
in the making, gets closer
to the president’s desk
"Y +ELLY &IELD
Ii idd` five years, dozens of drafts, and a
total of 14 extensions, but Congress last
week was finally on the verge of passing
a bill to renew the Higher Education Act, the
major law governing federal student aid.
The bill, after approval by the U.S. House
of Representatives, was headed to the Senate,
where a final vote was planned for late last
week. The measure was expected to pass and
then go to President Bush for his signature.
Mr. Bush is expected to sign the long-overdue bill, which would be the most significant
piece of higher-education legislation to clear
Congress since September 2007, when lawmakers passed a measure that slashed subsidies to lenders in the government’s student-loan programs and used the savings to significantly increase federal student aid.
The 1,158-page bill would set federal higher-education policy for the next five years,
creating dozens of grant programs for colleges and students while imposing hundreds of
new reporting requirements on institutions. It
would crack down on conflicts of interest in
the student-loan programs, press institutions
and states to rein in tuition, and make it easier
for for-profit colleges to become, or to remain,
eligible to award federal student aid.
It includes provisions that seek to prevent students from taking out private loans unnecessar-
Continued on Page A11
Create a national “watch list”
of the most-expensive colleges.
Bar the Education Department from
dictating how colleges measure student learning.
Punish states that fail to maintain
spending on higher education.
Require colleges to do more to
crack down on students’ illegal
sharing of music and video files.
Require textbook publishers to
divulge more information about prices.
U. of Phoenix
Terrorism case is cast
as fight for civil liberties
"Y 0AULA 7ASLEY
"Y !LLIE 'RASGREEN
JZVccZ I]Zd]Vg^h! an associate professor of political science at the City University of
New York’s Brooklyn College, remembers Syed Fahad Hashmi as an
energetic student who took frequent
advantage of his professors’ office
hours. He loved
a vigorous discussion with his
sometimes lingering after class to
finish a debate.
also loved to engage in polemics
outside the classroom at Brooklyn
College, speaking out at campus
meetings and rallies against U.S.
Ms. Theoharis also recalls that
her student took a keen interest in
civil liberties. Mr. Hashmi wrote his
final paper for her class on the contradictions between basic American
freedoms and ideals and the U.S.
government’s treatment of citizens
since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
His interest in civil liberties may
be even keener today. Mr. Hashmi, a
28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen
born in Pakistan, is being held in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan
Correctional Center in Manhattan,
on multiple charges related to terrorism. And now his trial, supposed to
begin at the end of last month, has
been pushed back indefinitely.
Mr. Hashmi’s ordeal has had a
profound effect on Ms. Theoharis
and another of his instructors, who
Continued on Page A13
MARK ABRAHAM FOR THE CHRONICLE
Renee Kaswan, a former U. of Georgia professor, says the university “got suckered”
in negotiating patent rights to eyedrops she invented.
A Raw Deal, in a Researcher’s Eyes
Dispute over an invention highlights
problems in technology transfer
"Y 'OLDIE "LUMENSTYK
T]Z Jc^kZgh^in of Georgia and a former faculty member there stand to make some $70-mil-
lion from a license on an invention used for
the popular eyedrops Restasis, sold by Allergan Inc.
Sound great? Not to Renee L. Kaswan, the former professor of veterinary medicine who for more
than a decade has been prodding the institution to be
more aggressive in commercializing the invention.
She contends the university would be entitled to
substantially more—as much as $230-million in additional cash—were it not for the deal its research
foundation cut with Allergan behind her back in
2003, a deal she calls naïve and shortsighted.
“They got suckered,” says Dr. Kaswan.
The 2003 deal allowed Allergan to reduce the
royalties it was obliged to pay to the university, in
exchange for an upfront payment of $23-million and
additional payments later.
Sales of Restasis have taken off, but the university
is not getting the full benefit because of the 2003
agreement. University leaders have said that their
arrangement with Allergan guaranteed the institution a lucrative payday even if the prescription product was later found to be unsafe or was overtaken by
a competing drug.
The dispute that is now slowly working its way
through a state court in Georgia shows why so few
university inventions become blockbusters for their
Documents in the case depict a university with the
faults that often undermine academic commercializa-
Continued on Page A8
6 views of lost
the proposed new
KZahZn hZZbh like an average American town. Many
of its 53,000 residents work
in plastics for Riordan Manufacturing, a subsidiary of the Fortune
1000 company Riordan Industries.
They give birth at the ordinary Patton-Fuller Community Hospital.
On weekends they stroll through
the historic downtown or stop by
the gourmet grocery, Kudler Fine
Foods. And Kelsey’s high school,
like too many others, has had a
large number of teen pregnancies.
You won’t find Kelsey on any map,
however. It exists only online, in software designed by the University of
Phoenix for its business, information-technology, education, and health-care courses. Kelsey and its elaborately constructed fictional companies
are what the university calls its “
virtual organizations”—online teaching
tools designed to simulate the experience of working at a typical corporation, school, or government agency.
For the 345,000 students enrolled
in the for-profit university’s online
or campus-based courses, the virtual schools and businesses function
like case studies, in that students use
them to diagnose and solve typical
problems of organizations. The big
difference from textbook-style cases,
say the program’s creators, is in the
level of realism and interactivity.
“With case studies, there’s a lot
of background, but there’s no one
to ask questions of,” says Kenneth
W. Sardoni, who teaches graduate
business and information systems
and technology. “There are none of
the simulated interviews, none of
the memos, none of the electronic
correspondence that we have in the
virtual organizations. So if you have
questions on a case, the students
have to make assumptions.”
Phoenix students, instead, can tap
Continued on Page A10
This week’s news briefing: Page A2 Commentary: Page A19 296 job opportunities: Page A21