faculty

Academic Minute: End-of-Life Health Care Expenses

In today’s Academic Minute, Amy Kelley of Mount Sinai School of Medicine examines the average Medicare recipient’s medical expenses during the last five years. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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Purdue Students Charged With Hacking to Change Grades

Three current or former Purdue University students face charges of conspiracy to commit computer tampering and conspiracy to commit burglary to hack into computer networks to change grades, The Indianapolis Star reported. Some of the alleged grade changes were from A to A+ while others were from F to A. The investigation that led to the charges started when an engineering professor noticed that his password had been changed.

 

Court Says Human Genes Can't Be Patented But Synthetics Can

In a decision that could have ramifications for medical researchers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that isolated human genes could not be patented, though it said synthetic genes could be eligible for patents. Researchers hailed the decision, saying it brings clarity to a fast-changing area of research and opens that area up to greater investigation.

“The right to control exclusively the use of a patient’s genes could have made it more difficult to access new tests and treatments that rely on novel technologies that can quickly determine the sequence of any of the estimated 20,000 genes in the human genome,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in a statement. “Such approaches form the cornerstone of the rapidly emerging field of personalized medicine, in which diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies can be tailored to each person’s unique genetic makeup.”

The case attracted attention from the higher education community, with multiple research and law groups weighing in on it at various levels. Groups such as the American Medical Association opposed the right to patent genes. The Association of University Technology Managers, a group that represents technology-transfer officers, supported the right.

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Effort to Boost Military History

Periodic debates break out among historians over whether the field of military history receives sufficient attention. In an effort to promote the field, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation has announced a new $50,000 prize for the best military history book each year. Josiah Bunting III, president of the foundation, said in a statement: "It is our hope that the establishment of this prize will draw public attention to the field's continuing utility as an important staple of education in international politics, diplomacy, and conflict, and to assist in the restoration of military history to an important place in university curricula. If we do not learn from the conflicts of the past, we will be doomed to repeat them. For the sake of all, we cannot allow this area of scholarship and thinking to atrophy in the United States or abroad."

 

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St. Cloud State Profs Concerned About Transcript Alterations

Faculty members at St. Cloud State University have noticed an increasing number of instances in where failing or low grades were removed from students' transcripts without the professors being consulted, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Devinder Molhotr, the provost, said that it has become clear that proper protocol -- which would include faculty consultation -- hasn't always been followed. He said that a "very specific protocol" should prevent future problems.

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Faculty Member Accused of Assault No Longer at San Jose State

Following the creation of a petition that called for the “immediate removal” of a faculty member who was accused of sexually harassing a student, some students received an e-mail from San Jose State University saying he no longer works at the university.

The petition was in response to an NBC Bay Area news segment that aired in May. A female student, who wished to remain anonymous, told NBC that Jeffry Mathis — a part-time lecturer in the kinesiology department — sexually assaulted her. According to a university report obtained by NBC, Mathis admitted to “kissing and touching the student,” but said it was consensual. After seeing the news segment, San Jose State student Sasha Bassett created the change.org petition with a group of students who called themselves Students for the Accountability of Jeffry Mathis. After receiving 608 signatures on the petition by June 3, Bassett said she, one other member of the group and NBC received this e-mail message from San Jose State President Mo Qayoumi and sent by his chief of staff, Dorothy Poole:

SJSU Students,

We share your concern about the recent NBC 11 story describing an alleged sexual battery case at SJSU involving a lecturer, Jeffry Mathis and a female student. We are writing today to let you know that SJSU cares about and is firmly committed to providing a safe environment for everyone in the campus community. We strive to implement timely and appropriate actions to protect our community members, including promptly, carefully and thoroughly investigating all complaints, followed by appropriate responses and actions.  If there is any reason to believe a crime has occurred or safety is at risk, the University Police Department is contacted, and if appropriate, the matter is referred to the Santa Clara County District Attorney. 

 Regarding the allegations made in the news report, the university conducted a thorough internal investigation in addition to a police investigation immediately after the student filed the complaint. Based on those investigations, the university took appropriate action.  Because this is a personnel matter, the specific details of the actions taken are confidential.  However, Mr. Mathis is no longer employed by SJSU.

Mohammad Qayoumi,

President

Bassett said the group was hoping for more details explaining whether Mathis was removed from or voluntarily left his position at San Jose State.

“Our main goal was transparency within the school, and I think they missed that point,” Bassett said. “It’s not our goal for the school to try and make us go away. We want the school to work with us.”

 

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Essay on using summer to retool courses

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Tyro Tracts

This is the perfect time to rethink the courses you teach, writes Nate Kreuter. He offers advice on evaluating feedback so you can develop the best new plan.

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Academic Minute: Is Depression Contagious?

In today’s Academic Minute, Gerald Haeffel of the University of Notre Dame explain why college students might be open to catching depression while away at school. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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Benefits for Adjuncts Threatened in Washington State

Adjuncts and other part-time employees working for public colleges and universities in Washington State could have their health benefits threatened by pending legislation, The Seattle Times reported. Details are vague, which is part of why many are alarmed. And some view the legislation as a bargaining chip. But the budget bill would eliminate state-funded insurance for part-time employees of public schools and public higher ed. The part-time employees would receive an additional $2 an hour to buy coverage options created by the new federal health care law. Many say that most part-timers would end up either having to pay more themselves to maintain coverage or would lose some coverage. The legislation is notable because Washington State has historically provided more health insurance to adjuncts, who have organized around the issue, than has been the case in many other states.

 

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AAUP session centers on intellectual property and academic freedom in the online education age

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Cary Nelson warns that MOOCs could lead to erosion of faculty members' intellectual property rights.

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