Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 10, 2010

Jackson State University's president, Ronald Mason Jr., has received considerable public criticism for his idea of merging the state's three public, historically black universities into one. But a review by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger of e-mail to and from Mason about the idea shows that some in the state who have not spoken in favor of the plan were either supportive in private or at least open to considering the ideas. The e-mail messages also include some tough criticism and some of Mason's frustrations about the difficulty of talking about these issues. "If I can't have private conversations with members of the Black Caucus about the future of HBCUs without them trying to get me fired, then who am I supposed to talk to?" he said in one e-mail.

March 10, 2010

Making selections for those bracket pools takes time away from everything else, including scholarship, according to a new study by a Duke University professor. Charles Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, analyzed data on journal article viewing at 78 research libraries. He found that a drop in usage in the week after the pairings are announced for the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament. Further, he found additional drops at colleges and universities that won "toss-up" games, in the days following those games. “This drop in research activity in these libraries is quantitative evidence of the NCAA tournament’s power to influence patterns of work,” Clotfelter said.

March 10, 2010

An angry custodial worker at Ohio State University who had received a poor performance review shot two other employees, killing one of them, before killing himself Tuesday, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The university is offering counseling and Gordon Gee, the president, issued a statement offering condolences to the family of the employee who was killed.

March 10, 2010
  • Wendi Born, assistant professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baker University, in Kansas, has been promoted to associate professor of psychology there.
  • David Coppola, assistant vice president for administration at Sacred Heart University, in Connecticut, has been promoted to vice president for strategic planning and administration there.
  • Jean-Luc Marion, professor of the philosophy of religions and theology at the University of Chicago, in Ilinois, has been named the Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Professor in the Divinity School there.
  • Annie Pagura, manager of technology operations at Harford Community College, in Maryland, has been selected as vice president for information technology there.
  • Jim Paquette, associate athletics director for development at Boston College, in Massachusetts, has been named assistant vice president and director of athletics at Loyola University Maryland.
  • Mary C. Pinard, associate professor of English at Babson College, in Massachusetts, has been promoted to professor of English there.
  • Mark Sweezy, a member of the faculty in the department of chemistry and physics at the University of New England, in Maine, has been named assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy at Saint Joseph College, in Connecticut.
  • March 10, 2010

    Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, says he hasn't given up on the University of California at Irvine. His appearance at Irvine last month set off a wide debate about civility and protest when his talk was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. Now Oren has published an open letter in the university's student newspaper offering to come back to Irvine. "I came to UCI for the opportunity to exchange ideas — a reasonable intention that was hijacked by a minority of students. The disruptive measures exhibited by these students only underscore the importance for dialogue, especially on the frontline of higher learning," Oren wrote. "I would willingly return to your campus and meet with those individuals whose views may not agree with mine as long as we respect the decorum of dialogue and free speech. Middle East issues are not devoid of emotion or nuance. Only with respect and sensitivity from all sides can we attain the conditions necessary to tackle one of the great issues of our time and realize the vision of peace."

    March 9, 2010

    New enrollment projections suggest that California's colleges need to find room for another 400,000 students by 2019, and that the state could be on a path of turning away many of them. The findings come from the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The enrollment demands will be especially strong for Latino students, whose numbers could go up by more than 40 percent over the decade.

    March 9, 2010

    Jonathan Spence, a Yale University historian who is one of the leading experts on China, was named Monday as the 2010 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor given by the federal government to a humanities scholar each year. Spence's lecture, to be delivered May 20 in Washington, will be called “When Minds Met: China and the West in the 17th Century."

    March 9, 2010

    A student organization at the University of Nevada at Reno, UNR Students for Liberty, held a rally Monday to call for the abolition of student government. With balloons, ponies and pizza, the rally cost about $3,000. KOLO-TV News reported that the group got that money from ... the student government.

    March 9, 2010

    The University of Kentucky fire marshall is calling for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house to be closed for the rest of this semester and next semester following an unusual and unsafe fire incident, The Herald-Leader reported. According to authorities, they found multiple fire code violations after responding to an incident in which a fraternity member set fire to a friend who was wrapped in toilet paper.

    March 9, 2010

    A group of major corporations in Britain says that the government's push to expand access to higher education has devalued university degrees there, The Guardian reported. The British government has set a goal of having 50 percent of all citizens under 30 attain a college degree, and that effort "driven down standards and devalued the currency of a degree and damaged the quality of the university experience," says a report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which represents 800 companies.

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