Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Reforms in the medical school curriculum may have a dramatic impact on the success rates of minority medical students, according to a new study in the journal Medical Education. The study examines the impact of an "integrated medical curriculum" -- in which courses focus more on problem-solving than on memorization -- at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Traditionally high failure rates for black and Latino medical students on the Step 1 licensing exam dropped dramatically for those who went through the new curriculum, the study found.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Presidents of the Patriot League, a conference of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic colleges with strong academic reputations, have decided to hold off for at least two years on any decision to offer athletic scholarships in football, The Express-Times reported. Those who have opposed scholarships have said that the additional spending is not appropriate right now, but football boosters at some campuses have been pushing hard for a change. While Daniel H. Weiss, president of Lafayette College, has opposed football scholarships, the chairman of the Friends of Lafayette Football on Wednesday denounced the decision, telling the Express-Times that the conference members' presidents "have no guts and offer no leadership."

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The American Sociological Association announced Wednesday that it is moving its 2011 annual meeting away from Chicago. “A very protracted labor dispute between the service workers of UNITE HERE Local 1 and Chicago hotels has been taking place and there is no end in sight,” said Sally T. Hillsman, the association's executive officer, in a statement. “Without any sign of an imminent resolution, the ASA Council voted unanimously to move the meeting from Chicago because ASA cannot guarantee that the facilities and environment necessary for a successful meeting will be available.” A new location will be announced in a few weeks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The drive by the American Federation of Teachers to unionize faculties in the University of Wisconsin continues to advance. Already this year, faculty members have voted to be represented by the AFT at the system's Superior and Eau Claire campuses. In the last month, petitions have been filed for union elections at the system's campuses at La Crosse, River Falls, Stevens Point and Stout, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 3:00am

A state judge on Monday declined to block an academic reorganization of the University of Toledo, The Toledo Blade reported. President Lloyd Jacobs wants to reorganize the colleges in the university, but the American Association of University Professors charged that a lack of consultation violated the university's contract with the faculty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Universities in several countries are adding programs in Islamic finance, Bloomberg reported. Businesses have a shortage of experts on the subject -- and so graduates of the programs are in demand. Among the institutions with programs: International Islamic University of Malaysia and La Trobe University, in Australia.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 3:00am

An evenly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court's decision on the pricing of products made outside the United States -- a ruling that textbook companies had urged the justices to endorse. The 4-4 ruling, from which Associate Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself, came in a legal fight between Omega, the watch manufacturer, and Costco, the wholesale chain store, over the sale of imported versions of products at prices lower than Omega charges for its own U.S.-made products. Textbook companies had feared -- and librarians and advocates for students had hoped -- that a ruling for Costco could open the way to the flooding of the U.S. market with the less-fancy editions that textbook companies have produced for students in poorer countries. The court's split ruling means that it has much less weight than a decision with a clear majority in favor, and leaves many of the issues to be decided another day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 3:00am

A federal judge has allowed four top officials at the University of California at Davis to be sued for violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, rejecting their claims that they are immune from such litigation, The Sacramento Bee reported. The decision does not weigh in on the merits of the suit -- now in its seventh year -- by three former women's wrestlers. The judge ruled, however, that freedom from "purposeful discrimination in education" was a clear constitutional right in the period in which the women sued, so the officials are not immune and a trial may go forward. The university is continuing to contest the suit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider an appeal of a ruling by New York State's highest court upholding the use of eminent domain to obtain certain properties for a new Columbia University campus in West Harlem. The Supreme Court's refusal to consider the case ends years of legal fights over Columbia's expansion plans.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 3:00am

A new study of students at the University of Northern Iowa and Southeastern Oklahoma University has found that about one-third of students said that they had been untruthful on faculty evaluations they submit at the end of courses, The Des Moines Register reported. While students admitted to fudging the truth both to bolster professors they liked and to bring down those they disliked, the latter kind of fabrication was more common.

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