Duke University has suspended the enrollment of new patients in three clinical trials that depend in part on work by a scientist at the university who may have falsely claimed to have been a Rhodes scholar, The News & Observer reported. Duke has placed the scientist, Anil Potti, on administrative leave. (This item has been corrected from an earlier version.)
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Government Accountability Office released a report Wednesday detailing ways for the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid to improve its oversight of lenders and third-party servicers involved in the Federal Family Education Loan Program.
The report urged the department's inspector general to update its FFEL Lender Audit Guide to reflect standards put into place since the guide was last published in 1996. (In a response, Kathleen Tighe, the inspector general, said that a new guide will be out by the end of the year.) It also called for the department to address identified gaps in the policies and procedures used in Federal Student Aid's review of audited financial statements for lender servicers involved in the FFEL program. Those issues, the department said, could be remedied in part by revisions to the guide.
GAO found fewer concerns in the Direct Loan program, but urged the department to step up its oversight as the program grows.
A U.S. Senate appropriations panel approved legislation Wednesday that would give the National Science Foundation slightly less money in 2011 than would proposals by the House of Representatives and President Obama. The measure backed by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies would provide $7.35 billion for the science foundation, compared to the $7.42 billion contained in both the Obama administration's budget proposal and a parallel measure working its way through the House of Representatives. According to a news release from the committee, the NSF's research programs would receive $6 billion, slightly more than the House would provide but on par with the president's request, while education programs would get $892 million, down from the House's $958 million.
The Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing Kenneth Howell in the controversy over his teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has given the institution an ultimatum: either assure in writing that Howell will teach his regular courses in Roman Catholic studies in the fall, or he will sue. The letter states that the university has violated Howell's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Howell has for years been an adjunct at Illinois, but he was recently told he would not have additional courses, following complaints over an e-mail he sent to students. His supporters argue that the e-mail was just an explanation of Catholic teachings on homosexuality and that punishing him for that would undercut the values of academic freedom. His critics argue that the e-mail reflected an attempt to indoctrinate students with faith, not teach them about a faith -- and some question the arrangement under which a Catholic center nominates and pays for adjuncts to teach courses on Catholicism at the university. Illinois officials have appointed a committee to study the academic freedom issues involved in the case.
But a letter sent by the Alliance Defense Fund Monday argues that the committee may be unfair to Howell. "We are concerned that the committee's investigation into this matter is tainted already with bias toward affirming the dismissal. President Michael Hogan commented that the purpose of the committee is to 'reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here.' This remark gives us concern that university officials do not appreciate the gravity of the constitutional violations in this situation."
Illinois officials did not respond to requests for comment, but have previously indicated that they were committed to a fair inquiry into the issues.
Harvard University Medical School is setting new rules that will prohibit faculty members from giving promotional talks for drug and medical device makers and accepting personal gifts, travel, or meals from such companies, The Boston Globe reported. The new rules follow scrutiny from Congress over allegations of conflict of interest in federally sponsored biomedical research. Harvard officials told the Globe that they believed the rules would not block legitimate research collaboration between faculty members and companies.
The business schools of Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and Nanyang Technological University, along with the China Europe International Business School and the Indian School of Business, will do joint recruiting and marketing, trying to position themselves as an "Asian Ivy League" of business schools, Bloomberg reported. "There’s the Ivy League in America, so we thought why can’t we Asian business schools do the same kind of thing" said Nick Soriano, director of marketing and admissions at Nanyang, in Singapore. "Even though we are very much each other's competitors, we thought we can all work together in trying to attract and convince people to come to Asia for their MBA."
The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.
The U.S. Department of Education is today proposing new, stricter rules on eligibility of students to receive federal financial aid to attend colleges and universities outside the United States. Some of the rules increase financial reporting requirements for the institutions seeking to have their students be eligible for the aid. Some rules are specific to foreign medical schools. One that could have an impact on many of them would raise to 75 percent from 60 percent the rate at which graduates must pass U.S. medical licensing exams for the institution's students to remain eligible for aid. A report released in June by the Government Accountability Office urged the department to toughen oversight of foreign medical schools that want their students to be eligible for U.S. student aid.
A study has found that just over 5 percent of medical residency applications at a major academic medical center showed evidence of plagiarism. The study, which appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed the applications with new Turnitin software that is being sold to admissions offices to detect plagiarism. The prevalence of plagiarism was greater among applicants who were not citizens of the United States.
China is starting to see some success in its efforts to battle brain drain. AFP reported that while the numbers leaving the country for graduate study continue to increase, there are now increases in the number of graduates who return, sometimes having achieved the highest levels of success at Western universities. One example: Shi Yigong, who was landing big grants as a professor at Princeton University, returned to become head of life sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing.