Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

A new study on the emotional lives of adjunct professors that appears to be the first of its kind says contingent faculty members are at risk for stress, depression and anxiety due to their working conditions. The paper, written by Gretchen M. Reevey, a lecturer in psychology at California State University at East Bay, and Grace Deason, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, was published in Frontiers of Psychology and is available in full here.

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

A new study in American Sociological Review finds a reversal of a pattern of many decades in which women with more education than their husbands were more likely than others to end up divorced. Now such women are not at greater odds of divorce. Further, couples in which both spouses have equal educational levels are now less likely to get divorced than are those where the husband has more education. The study only looked at heterosexual couples. The lead author of the study was Christine R. Schwartz, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Monday, July 28, 2014 - 4:18am

Tom Apple, chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is reportedly losing his job after only two years, The Star-Advertiser reported. The university is not confirming the reports and denied that a change had been made, but the newspaper said that sources had done so, following widespread rumors in recent weeks. Facing shortfalls of funds, Apple has made unpopular moves in recent months, including a two-year hiring freeze, and announcing that departments that overspend this year will have the extra funds count toward next year's allocation.


Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

The Chinese real estate tycoon couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin recently announced a $15 million gift to Harvard University. The South China Morning Post reported that they have received criticism online from people asking why they didn't give the money to Chinese universities. The couple has pointed out that Harvard will use the funds to help poor students from China enroll there.


Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

A Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California died Thursday after being attacked by at least three men a few blocks from campus, The Los Angeles Times reported. Police said that Xinran Ji, an engineering student, was assaulted with a blunt object while walking home from a study group around 12:45 a.m.; he was able to make it to his nearby off-campus apartment, where he was subsequently found dead.

USC has experienced a series of violent incidents that have shaken up prospective and current students. In April of 2012, two Chinese graduate students were shot and killed while sitting in a parked car just west of campus, leading their parents to file a wrongful death suit alleging that the university had provided misleading information on safety. Six months after that, a gunman opened fire outside a Halloween party, wounding four people.

The university has since that time introduced a number of new measures aimed at improving safety, though The Los Angeles Times noted that Thursday’s attack “once again exposed the limits of the university’s efforts outside school grounds.”

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Friday removed Marvin Wiggins as a trustee of Alabama State University, AL.com reported. Bentley said that Wiggins had violated conflict of interest rules in numerous ways. The governor said that Wiggins' wife inappropriately received $30,000, and that Wiggins did not inform the university, when it hired his sister-in-law as a professor, that she had been disbarred. Wiggins could not be reached for comment.



Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

The University of Maine’s partnership with the for-profit pathway program provider and international student recruiting company Study Group resulted in fewer students than hoped for in its first year, the Bangor Daily News reported. The target was to recruit 50 international students to the University of Maine and 20 to the University of Southern Maine in the first year. In fact, just four students enrolled at UMaine in fall 2013, one of whom withdrew; an additional 12 students enrolled later in the academic year and the university expects to enroll 20 new students this coming fall. The University of Southern Maine has enrolled one student through the partnership. 

Maine officials told the newspaper that by the time they signed the contract with Study Group – in March of 2013 – they’d missed that year’s recruitment cycle.

As Inside Higher Ed has reported, an increasing number of colleges have turned to corporate pathway providers like Study Group in hopes of increasing their international student populations.

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Sam Maglio, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto Scarborough, explains his research on the influence of the way names sound. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Friday, July 25, 2014 - 3:00am

The U.S. Army War College, responding to reports that Senator John Walsh plagiarized large portions of his master's thesis, announced a formal investigation on Thursday, The New York Times reported. “It’s clear there is indeed strong reason to believe this is plagiarism,” said Provost Lance Betros. Walsh has denied doing anything wrong and has suggested that any problems may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Two columns in The Washington Post explore issues raised by the incident. Sean M. Lynn-Jones, a research associate at the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, wrote about the experience of being plagiarized by Walsh. And Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, wrote about feeling unimpressed that the paper led to a master's degree (even aside from the plagiarism issues). The title of his piece: "On what academic planet does a 14 page paper merit John Walsh an M.A.?"

Friday, July 25, 2014 - 3:00am

The director of the Ohio State University marching band, who helped the band become YouTube sensations last year with complex, iPad-enhanced halftime shows, was fired Thursday following allegations that he ignored a longstanding culture of sexual harassment and hazing within the band.

Jonathan Waters has been the band's director since 2012, but has served in other roles with the band for a decade. He was fired following a two-month investigation by the university's office of compliance.

"[The investigation] found, among other things, very serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment with the band, creating a hostile environment for students," Michael Drake, the university's president, said in a video statement. "I was profoundly disappointed to learn this. We can -- and according to our values and Title IX we must -- do better. Even one incident of harassment or hazing or assault is one too many."

The alleged behavior included an annual student-led practice where students marched in their underwear at midnight, a tradition of assigning sexually explicit nicknames to rookie band members, and a raunchy unofficial songbook. The Columbus Dispatch has the full report here.

Drake said Betty Montgomery, Ohio's former attorney general, will lead an independent task force further investigating the report.


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