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Quick Takes: Title IX Fears in Science, Top Ph.D. Feeder Universities Are Chinese, Southwestern CC Settles With Adjunct, California Strike, Possible Punishment at VCU, Unaccredited Colleges, Capella President Quits, South Africa's Unmet Needs

July 15, 2008
  • Federal officials announced two years ago that they would examine whether universities were violating federal anti-bias laws in their treatment of women in science. As investigations proceed, The New York Times reported, some scientists think the wrong issues are being explored while others fear imposition of quotas.
  • A new study has found that the institutions whose undergraduates were most likely to earn a Ph.D. from a university in the United States in 2006 were both in China: Tsinghua University and Peking University, Science reported. Those institutions overtook the University of California at Berkeley. Following Berkeley are Seoul National University, Cornell University and the University of Michigan.
  • Southwestern Community College, in Iowa, has reached a settlement with Steve Bitterman, an adjunct who lost his job after he offended some students by stating that the Bible is not literally true. The Des Moines Register reported that Bitterman is no longer teaching at the college and that details of the settlement have not been released.
  • Service workers at University of California campuses and hospitals started a five-day strike Monday in a dispute over wages. The Los Angeles Times reported that university officials were downplaying the impact of the strike, while union officials were focused on describing the wages their members receive.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University won't say who it has punished for a scandal in which a degree was awarded inappropriately to Richmond's former police chief. But the local CBS affiliate is reporting that Jon Steingass, dean of University College at VCU, who signed off on the degree, is leaving his position.
  • Wyoming's Supreme Court has endorsed a lower court's ruling that upheld the constitutionality of a state law and regulations that govern for-profit colleges. The Wyoming court's ruling, issued last month, came in a case in which Newport International University, an unaccredited institution, challenged the licensing requirements of the state's Private School Licensing Act after its ability to operate in the state was restricted in 2006. In other developments, Alabama on Monday formally put in place new rules to govern unaccredited institutions in that state, which were discussed in an article on Inside Higher Ed last month.
  • Turnover in the leadership of for-profit higher education continues. Kenneth Sobaski, president and chief executive officer of Capella Education Co., has resigned, following the news that that the company has narrowed its search for a new CEO to external candidates, Bloomberg reported.
  • Leaders of South Africa's universities believe that the country needs to create more universities, and that post-apartheid efforts to merge black and white universities diverted resources and attention from the more important issues related to the lack of enough overall spaces in higher education, The Guardian reported.
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