Auditor-General releases ‘scathing’ report into Auckland University’s $5m house purchase

a house with trees in the background: The house was the most expensive on the shortlist of three.

© RNZ/Checkpoint
The house was the most expensive on the shortlist of three.

The University of Auckland has been slammed by the Auditor-General for the controversial purchase of a $5 million house for its Vice-Chancellor.

The university bought the house in the inner-city suburb of Parnell as a home for incoming vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater in November 2019, and would also be used for “business-related operations, and functions”.

The purchase of the four-bedroom, 338 square metres property was criticised as “absolutely disgusting” by NZ Union of Student Associations president Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, who compared it to the houses students are known to rent.

“I think there’s a difference between buying a house for Vice-Chancellor and buying $5 million mansions,” she told Checkpoint.

The Auditor General’s office launched an investigation into the “unusual purchase”, the results of which were released in a report on Wednesday.


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College football bowl projections: Bowl Season releases first ‘official’ predictions for 2020-21

Back in October, college football’s postseason received a new, albeit simple, rebrand called “Bowl Season.” The Bowl Season organization is the one-stop shop for all things bowls in major college football. With the start of bowl season less than a month away — the Frisco Bowl is first up on Dec. 19 — the coalition, as it is self-described, has released its first set of bowl projections. These are, of course, separate from the projections released by CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm every week. 

These projections will be released each Wednesday moving forward for the next three weeks, leading up to the official College Football Playoff selections on Sunday, Dec. 20. They are made with considerations to current standings, CFP rankings, conference tie-ins and “discussions between bowl and conference leadership”. That would appear to peel back the curtain on the inner workings of where teams actually could be headed this winter. 

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Educate Maine releases 2020 ‘Education Indicators for Maine’ report

Annual review of Maine’s education pipeline identifies progress and challenges

PORTLAND — Educate Maine released its eighth “Education Indicators for Maine” report Thursday, Nov. 18. The annual report is an in-depth examination of Maine’s education system following the path of Maine students from early childhood through post-secondary education. The report uses 10 indicators to measure access, participation, and performance across the system. It provides data on what is working well and where investments in Maine’s education system are needed to ensure that every Maine person reaches their highest educational potential.

This year’s report is available in a new web format that allows for readily accessible data points on education in Maine, more timely updates to the indicators, and additional information on how readers can learn more and take action. Future iterations of the report will expand on what is measured as important for educational access, participation, and attainment across Maine.

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University of Alabama releases final COVID-19 testing stats of 2020

The final day of in-person classes at the University of Alabama brought the final round of COVID-19 testing numbers.

a large tall tower with a clock on the side of a building: The University of Alabama held its final in-person classes of the fall semester Friday.

© Ben Flanagan | [email protected]/
The University of Alabama held its final in-person classes of the fall semester Friday.

Cases climbed in Tuscaloosa with 115 positive tests over the 77 recorded a week earlier. That brought the semester total to 2,833 students who tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s 10.1% of those enrolled on the main campus and 8.9% of the total enrollment had COVID-19 since mid-August.

At UAB, 43 new cases were added for a semester total of 485. And at UA-Huntsville, the 31 new positives brought the total to 189.

Cases were also up for faculty and staff at all three campuses with 27 in Tuscaloosa, 29 at UAB and six at UA-Huntsville. Those numbers had been in the single digits for most of the semester that began

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PQ Bypass Releases Positive 24-Month Data from the DETOUR1 Clinical Trial for Percutaneous Femoropopliteal Bypass at VIVA 2020

Promising long-term safety and effectiveness results from PAD population with extremely complex SFA disease

PQ Bypass, Inc, a medical device pioneer bringing new advancements to the treatment of complex peripheral artery disease (PAD), announces promising long-term safety and effectiveness results from 24-month follow-up data from the DETOUR1 Clinical Study, including a 79% primary patency, with 82% of patients maintaining freedom from major adverse events at 2 years post-procedure. The DETOUR1 trial is the first-in-man trial of the FDA-designated Breakthrough Device, The Detour System, evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the novel procedure and device system for treating long, complex lesions in the superficial femoral artery (SFA).

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

An illustration of a completed Detour Procedure (Graphic: Business Wire)

The data were released as one of the “10 Highly Anticipated Late-Breaking Clinical Trial Releases” during the VIVA 2020 Virtual Conference. The data

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Maharashtra education department releases revised SOPs for school reopening

© Provided by Hindustan Times

Mandatory Covid-19 tests for staff, one student per bench in a class and avoiding extracurricular activities like sports, gatherings, are part of the revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) for schools released by the state education department on Tuesday.

On November 7, state education minister Varsha Gaikwad announced that the government will start schools for Classes 9 to 12 from November 23. The decision subsequently got clearance from the state government, and a revised set of SOPs for school reopening was released on Tuesday.

As per SOPs parents will have to sign a written consent before students attend school. Similarly, students can study from their homes with the consent of their parents and the guidelines for such a model will be released by the department shortly. State education minister Varsha Gaikwad had earlier said online learning will continue for students who wish to stay at home

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Blackboard Releases New LMS Feature Aimed at Helping Students Succeed in College

RESTON, Va., Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Blackboard Inc., a leading EdTech software and solutions company, today announced the release of Blackboard Assist, a new feature within the company’s leading cloud learning management system (LMS), Blackboard Learn, that connects higher education students with resources and services to help them succeed in college. The feature directly connects students in one click to support services from their institution and curated third-party help services. 

Blackboard Assist provides students easy access to their institution’s support services such as academic, career, health and wellness, student life and social services in one centralized location within the LMS. Students also have access to tutoring and homework services from trusted and reputable academic partners. By including these services directly within the LMS, which students are familiar with and routinely use to access course materials, it makes it even easier for them to get the support they need

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Forest-Climate Working Group Releases Consensus Policy Platform for 117th Congress

WASHINGTON, Nov. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Forest-Climate Working Group (FCWG) today released a new federal policy platform intended to shape climate action in Congress. The new platform is endorsed by 43 CEOs and organizations. The policy platform, which includes detailed proposals in five key areas, outlines how policymakers can help private forest owners and public land managers grow the powerful climate solutions in America’s forests and forest products while delivering a myriad of other environmental and economic benefits. Harnessing the power of forests to tackle climate change must be part of a comprehensive climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sequestration.

“For more than a decade, the Forest-Climate Working Group has developed consensus policy proposals that advance forests and forest products as a climate change solution, tapping the diverse expertise of landowners and manufacturers, agencies and researchers, and conservation NGOs,” said Jad Daley, President and

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Auburn University releases plans for spring semester

Auburn students who thought ahead to spring break will need to cancel their plans. Friday afternoon, Auburn University announced changes to its academic schedule, including the cancellation of spring break.

The spring 2021 academic plans have modifications to the calendar as well as updated protocols designed to create a safe environment.

Instead of spring break, Auburn will start its semester late and will add a number of “wellness days” throughout the semester, as well as a “reading day” before final exams start. The university will open Jan. 4 as planned, but the semester will start on Jan. 11. The wellness days are on Feb. 16, March 10 and April 1. While campus remains open on those days, no classes will meet.

Classes end on April 22 with the reading day on the 23. All exams will be wrapped up by the 30th, and graduation ceremonies will be held from May

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Quacquarelli Symonds releases the best MBAs for a career in finance

MBA programs can help you prepare for work in a specific industry by developing the skills you need, and it may help increase your post-graduate salary. If you are looking to land a career in finance, one of these top MBA specializations for a finance career may be a good fit.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a global higher education analyst, published on Wednesday seven specialization rankings highlighting the best MBA programs for a career in specific industries. This includes the best MBAs for students interested in working in finance upon graduation.

To do this, QS used data from its Global Employer Survey, its Business School Survey, and publishing company Elsevier’s Scopus database. Each program’s overall score is based on three metrics: career placement in the finance industry, research strength related to finance, and employer reputation in the industry. You can read more about data collection and methodology here.

The Wharton School

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