Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Questions are being raised about why the 26-year-old son of Marshall Goodman, the University of South Florida Polytechnic chief, was hired for a $50,000-a-year job at the institute, The Ledger reported. University officials said that nothing inappropriate happened, and that the son was simply hired first as a temporary worker and then applied for and received the full-time job.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Robert Geer, of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany, discusses the ability to manipulate atoms and create new materials. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Thousands of Dutch students protested Friday against planned government cuts to universities, Dutch News reported. Students have particularly objected to plans to both increase tuition rates and cut government subsidies to universities for students who take longer than normal to graduate.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

President Obama on Friday named 11 individuals and 4 organizations as recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

The individuals are:

  • Richard L. Cardenas of St. Mary’s University in Texas.
  • Anthony Carpi of John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York.
  • Isaac J. Crumbly of Fort Valley State University.
  • Jo Handelsman of Yale University.
  • Douglass L. Henderson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
  • Bruce A. Jackson of Massachusetts Bay Community College.
  • Marigold L. Linton of the University of Kansas.
  • Maja J. Matarić of the University of Southern California.
  • Gerard F. R. Parkin of Columbia University.
  • Julio J. Ramirez of Davidson College.
  • Michelle A. Williams of the University of Washington.

The four organizational efforts honored are:

  • The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology.
  • The Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program at the State University of New York at Purchase.
  • The Grinnell Science Project, at Grinnell College. (An Inside Higher Ed profile of that project may be found here.)
  • The Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Initiatives at the Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Illinois at Chicago, IL
Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Frances Fox Piven, a noted sociology professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center, has become the target of death threats since Glenn Beck has blamed her many times for being responsible for the current economic problems in the United States, The New York Times reported. Beck, the conservative Fox commentator, blames Piven because of an article she co-wrote with her late husband in 1966 called "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty." The Center for Constitutional Rights, a liberal think tank, wrote to Fox officials last week to ask that Beck stop making statements that could incite those threatening Piven. Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president at Fox News, told the Times that Beck had quoted Piven accurately. "'The Glenn Beck Program,' probably above and beyond any on television, has denounced violence repeatedly,” Cheatwood said.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

North Carolina's State Board for Community Colleges voted Friday to permit community colleges in the state to bar the enrollment of students who may pose a significant health or safety threat, The Charlotte Observer reported. It remains unclear how the colleges would define the threats that rise to the level that students should be barred from enrolling. The move follows the news that the man accused of the deadly Tucson rampage this month had been a student at Pima Community College.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

The Louisiana Board of Regents is moving ahead with a study of a possible merger of Southern Louisiana at New Orleans and the University of New Orleans, by hiring an outside consultant to prepare an analysis of the idea by March 1, in time for legislative consideration, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, called for consideration of the merger, citing the low graduation rates and shrinking enrollments of the two institutions. But the plan is controversial, in part because Southern is a historically black institution -- and many advocates for black students in Louisiana believe that the institution has never been treated equitably and deserves to be built up. Louisiana's Legislative Black Caucus has denounced the merger idea as a plan for the "systematic demise" of the state's historically black colleges. Also last week, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, a national group of historically black colleges, issued a statement criticizing the proposal. The statement noted that a legislative commission recently considered and rejected the merger idea, finding that the institutions have different and important missions. "Now is not the time to destroy, but rather to strengthen the Southern University System," says the NAFEO statement.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

As social media tools are increasingly used to respond to scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, many researchers are frustrated, according to an article in Nature. "Papers are increasingly being taken apart in blogs, on Twitter and on other social media within hours rather than years, and in public, rather than at small conferences or in private conversation," the article says. It goes on to quote many others who say that speedy response (even if of varying reliability) is actually a huge improvement over a system of waiting a long time for criticism of published articles.

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 3:00am

More than two-thirds of the people appointed to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees by the current governor and previous governor were campaign donors to the men who selected them, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The practice is not unusual or illegal, the article noted, and some in the state say there is nothing wrong with it. But others say that as board members become increasingly involved in difficult financial and academic questions facing the university system, the pattern raises questions about whether the most qualified people are being appointed.

Friday, January 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Gary L. Minish has resigned as provost of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale after just over a month on the job, KFVS 12 News reported. A statement from Chancellor Rita Cheng referred to policy differences that Minish has with the direction of the university, but details were not available.

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