States are continuing to develop their education data systems, and to link multiple systems when they have them, the State Higher Education Executive Officers said in a new report. The survey, which found that 45 states have at least one student unit record and 29 states have between two and five systems, updates a 2007 study that the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems produced for the Lumina Foundation for Education.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Columbia University researchers have found that 25 out of 32 highly paid consultants to medical device companies failed to reveal, or their journals failed to reveal, those payments in subsequent journal articles, The New York Times reported. The consultants involved were each paid at least $1 million each. “We found a massive, dramatic system failure,” said David J. Rothman, one of the Columbia scholars who did the study.
Martin Samuels, a Harvard University medical professor, has started a new company that will provide continuing medical education that is different from many of the existing programs in that it will not be subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry, The Boston Globe reported. The influence of drug company money on programs in which medical professionals learn about new treatments has been widely criticized, but some have noted the lack of programs that are totally free of the pharmaceutical cash. The new business will get its revenue directly from universities, hospitals and other organizations that want to provide continuing medical education -- and will not take any money from the drug industry.
Dismas Charities, which provides assistance to criminals seeking to re-enter society, has responded to an outpouring of criticism by giving up luxury suites it was renting at University of Louisville basketball and football games, at a total cost of $137,000 annually, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. While charity officials initially defended the rentals, a statement Monday said that the organization "heard the concerns of the community." The university agreed to release the charity from its contracts for the suites.
The Western Athletic Conference is suing the University of Nevada at Reno, California State University at Fresno and the Mountain West Conference over the decision of the two universities to leave WAC for Mountain West, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Details on the suit and the universities' responses were not available.
Bob Smith, provost of Texas Tech University, heard his counterpart at the University of Phoenix say this summer that many Phoenix faculty members are faculty members at leading public universities. So, as The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported, Smith asked Phoenix and other for-profits for faculty rosters. At Texas Tech, faculty members teaching part-time elsewhere would need his office's permission -- and he has never received such a request. So he wants to check whether any of his faculty are teaching in the for-profit sector, without permission. So far, he hasn't received any for-profit rosters.
Colleges saw average increases of 6.7 percent for employee coverage and 7 percent for employee/family coverage in the most commonly offered forms of health coverage offered, according to an annual survey released by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The survey also found declines in the percentage of colleges paying for full premium costs of their employees.
Students and artists at Texas Southern University are angry that President John Rudley had workers paint over two murals in the administration building, The Houston Chronicle reported. The murals were a senior project of Harvey Johnson, who went on to teach at the university for 34 years until he retired in 2007, and are part of a tradition in which art students were encouraged to paint murals. A university spokeswoman initially said that painters covered the murals by mistake, but Rudley acknowledged that it was his choice, telling the newspaper that "when I bring dignitaries to campus, I can't have them seeing that kind of thing. All art isn't good art." The murals were painted in 1971 and reflected the Black Power movement of the time, including nonstandard English, as in the title of the work Dere's a "Han Writing on de Wall." An editorial in the newspaper denounced the decision to paint over the murals, saying: "[P]reparing for the wider world shouldn't require erasing one's African-American identity. And African-American art and history have something to say to all Americans, not just black ones. Of all places, it seems to us, a historically black university ought to celebrate the complexities of that culture. By erasing Johnson's mural, TSU erased an important part of its own heritage - and its students' heritage, and its city's. Maybe the paintings made the president and the dignitaries who visited him uncomfortable. But art, like education, isn't about making people comfortable. Sometimes we all need to read the handwriting on the wall."
The board and interim president of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science resigned Friday, as part of an effort to attract new financial support and to find a path to stability for the financially challenged institution, the Los Angeles Times reported. The university, focused on training health professionals in the low-income, predominantly minority parts of Los Angeles, has been in danger of having assets seized because it cannot make required loan payments. The resignations led to the appointment of new board members coming from a cross-section of academic and philanthropic organizations in Los Angeles.
Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are discussing whether they should add railings for all bunk beds, following the August death of a woman who was visiting her daughter, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The university has provided the railings on request, and has seen a spike since the woman's death. The beds are typically designed to allow for elevation but not to require it. Many students like to elevate their beds to allow for more usable space in a dormitory room.