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Quick Takes: Harvard Moves Ahead on Stem Cells, Hobart Drops SAT, NYU Will Return Gift, Court Rejects Challenge to Medical Residency System, American U. Responds to Senator, Stanford Revamps MBA, Next Step in Open Access, End to British Pay Dispute

June 7, 2006
  • Harvard University announced Tuesday that it would move ahead with a series of research projects involving cloned human stem cell lines, which will be used to try to develop treatments for specific diseases. The research is the type generally deplored by the Bush administration as unethical, but Harvard officials noted that they had undertaken extensive study of the ethical issues and the appropriate protections needed.
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in New York State, announced Tuesday that they would make the SAT optional for applicants. College officials said that although the SAT scores of applicants have been rising in recent years, the college has found that high school courses provide the best indicator of a student's ability. In the past two years, an increasing number of liberal arts colleges have ended standardized testing requirements, and many of those have reported gains in applications and enrollments -- particularly minority enrollments -- after making the move.
  • New York University plans to return a $1.25 million gift from a former student who pleaded guilty to bank fraud amd wire fraud on Tuesday, The New York Times reported. NYU told The Times that its policy was always to return any "ill gotten" funds, and that the university was just waiting for a definitive indication of whom the money should go to.
  • A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that rejected a lawsuit claiming that the system used to match medical school graduates with residency programs violated antitrust laws. The Association of American Medical Colleges is praising the decision.
  • The American University Board of Trustees has responded to questions and criticisms raised by Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Senate Finance Committee. In a letter to Grassley, the university noted a series of governance changes it adopted in the wake of a scandal involving compensation for the former president of the university, Benjamin Ladner. The letter indicated that the board believed it was fully cooperating with requests that it turn over information, and that American University believes it now has a changed culture that would prevent abuses from taking place. Senator Grassley released his own letter Tuesday, saying that while American has "taken some steps in the right direction," on some issues some board members seem "more interested in excuses than meaningful reform."
  • Stanford University is revamping its MBA program, to make it more individually tailored to students, rather than providing a single curriculum. The move comes at a time that other leading business schools are also making significant changes in their curriculums.
  • The Public Library of Science, which promotes open-access scientific publishing, is launching a new project PLoS One, which will be a peer-reviewed online publication that will aim to bring good research in a variety of fields quickly into public view, and to encourage communication about that research.
  • The British faculty union and university leaders have settled a long and bitter salary dispute, clearing the way for grading of exams to resume, The Guardian reported. The agreement covers both academic and non-academic workers and follows growing concern over the impact of the dispute on students' progress toward graduation.
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