Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 4:17am

Northwestern University's law school this spring expelled a student -- months from graduation -- who is a felon who has been convicted for falsely impersonating a lawyer, The Chicago Tribune reported. The student who was kicked out then sued the university, although a settlement appears to have been reached. Northwestern faulted the student for failing to disclose his past, and said that he was an "undesirable" candidate to become a lawyer. The would-be lawyer disputes the charges from his past, but he also argues that Northwestern never asked him about his criminal history.

 

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 3:00am

The conservative airwaves and blogosophere were full of reports on Wednesday that the University of Wyoming had banned a veteran from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a student government meeting. One problem is that the story wasn't entirely accurate. What really happened is that a student senator asked that the student government meeting start with the pledge. But the student government has a set of rules that state how meetings should start -- and the pledge isn't on the list. Officials said that the senator was told that if he proposed changing the "order of the meeting" to start with the pledge, and if the measure passed, the pledge could in fact start every meeting. But the senator must make the proposal and it must pass.

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 3:00am

Instructure on Wednesday introduced new tools for its learning management system, Canvas, to help instructors collect data from face-to-face courses. In addition to a reworked quiz statistics page and a tool for quick in-class polls, Instructure also unveiled MagicMarker, an iPad app that lets instructors use gestures to quickly track how students are progressing toward course outcomes. That data is made available to students in Canvas' Learning Mastery tab. Instructure is this week hosting its annual user conference, InstructureCon, in Park City, Utah.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 3:00am

Government officials and educators in Denmark are debating whether the country is too generous to its college students. Tuition is free and students receive stipends (not loans) so officials say that students feel little pressure to study subjects that relate to potential jobs, Agence France Presse reported. Tech companies report that they don't have enough qualified applicants, while enrollments surge in topics that relate to students' personal interests. There has been much public discussion of a man known as "Lazy Robert," who at 45 has devoted considerable time to studying philosophy, Chinese and the social sciences and has no interest in finding private sector work.

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 3:00am

Thomas Jefferson University on Wednesday announced a $110 million gift for its medical college from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation. The medical college will now be named for Kimmel, a philanthropist who has focused his giving on Philadelphia-area institutions.

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Nathaniel Dominy, associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, discusses his research on an evolutionary understanding of how humans and other primates eat. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 3:00am

Forget control of Congress and the World Cup. FiveThirtyEight, the new Nate Silver blog, is finally tackling a truly important issue, with a poll of Americans on the Oxford comma. The blog found that 57 percent of Americans favor the comma, while 43 percent oppose it. The poll also asked respondents to evaluate their own grammar. Proponents of the comma tended to rate their grammar as excellent or very good, while those who rated their grammar as fair were more likely to oppose the comma.

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 3:00am

The office of Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, announced on Tuesday that it had concluded a three-year investigation into the recruiting and enrollment practices of Kaplan Inc., a for-profit chain. The investigation, which focused on other for-profits as well, found no violations by Kaplan, according to a statement from the company. Kaplan also voluntarily reached an agreement with Bondi's office, under which it will disclose more details about academic programs. The company will also reimburse the attorney general's office for fees it racked up during the investigation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 4:21am

Syracuse University has fired a tenured male professor for a consensual relationship with a female undergraduate, The Post-Standard reported. The university did not identify the professor, but said that, in violation of university policy, he taught, advised and supervised the student during the relationship. The professor was fired on the recommendation of a faculty review panel.

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 3:00am

The Faculty Association at Pensacola State College in Florida has rejected a contract deal in part because course load and overage concerns, the Pensacola News-Journal reported. Paige Anderson, an English instructor who is president of the American Federation of Teachers- and National Education Association-affiliated faculty union, said the proposed contract would have been punitive to the college's vocational, clinical health occupations and collegiate high school faculty. Anderson said the contract called for the elimination of overload for those faculty and a renegotiation of course load "points," so that those instructors would have had to teach 4.5 additional hours per week, to 22.5 hours. The rest of the faculty would have been unaffected, with a 15-credit course load per semester. But Anderson said the move was a show of solidarity for the minority group of affected faculty members and concern over the college's ability to retain and attract health professions faculty, including nurses, under those terms. Anderson said state funding for the affected fields was lower than for other disciplines, and the college was attempting to compensate on the backs of the faculty.

A university spokeswoman said via email that a change in load points would not added hours to the faculty work week, but rather would have shifted hours between teaching, office and "other professional activity hours."

“The college will return to the bargaining table and continue to negotiate in good faith,” President Edward Meadows said in a statement, “and the college will remain focused on fulfilling our mission of providing access to high-quality education.” 

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