Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, August 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Arizona is a pivotal state in the national debate about immigration policy, but the state's approach has encouraged one academic expert to leave. Gabriel (Jack) Chin, who has been an outspoken critic of Arizona's approach, has left his law professorships at the University of Arizona for one at the University of California at Davis, The Sacramento Bee reported. "The Arizona Legislature's passed laws that I see as harsh, cruel and inhumane, and it seems unlikely it's going to stop in the next decade," Chin told the Bee, adding that he and his wife didn't want to raise their daughters in the state.

Monday, August 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Three states in India have banned the opening of a film, "Aarakshan," which is in part about India's system of university quotas for members of some disadvantaged groups, The New York Times reported. The system in India is highly controversial, but is enforced by court orders. The name of the film means "reservation," which is how Indians refer to the set-asides for members of certain castes or ethnic groups. The film's website is here, and the trailer follows:

Monday, August 15, 2011 - 3:00am

Nikolai Volodin, head of the Pirogov medical school, one of Russia's most prestigious, has been fired for allegedly admitting "ghost students" -- fake students whom would enable the medical school to then control who actually was offered admission, BBC reported. Under reforms adopted in 2009, Russian medical schools are supposed to use uniform admission standards so that the best students are admitted.

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Eight Native American students on Thursday sued the University of North Dakota and state officials over a new state law requiring the institution to maintain its "Fighting Sioux" name for athletic teams, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The university defended the name -- opposed by many Native Americans and the National Collegiate Athletic Association -- for years, but was on the verge of ending the name's use when legislators intervened. The lawsuit charges that the state is violating the students' rights by interfering in a decision that should not be made by political leaders. Further, the suit charges that the use of the name is harmful to Native American students.

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Purchase College's Matthew Immergut reveals that charisma is not an attribute that can be possessed, but a sociological relationship to be cultivated. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Cooking is the leading cause of university housing fires, accounting for 88 percent of them, according to an analysis released Thursday by the U.S. Fire Administration. An average of 3,800 university housing fires occur each year, causing 25 injuries and $9 million in damage on average annually.

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Academic institutions produced more startup companies as they commercialized their researchers' work in 2010 than they did in 2009, although some other forms of licensing activity decreased slightly, according to the preliminary results of an annual survey of the Association of University Technology Managers. The number of new U.S. patent applications filed by the institutions in the AUTM survey soared to 12,281 in in 2010, from 8,364 in 2009; the number of patents issued also rose, and licensed technologies and inventions at the surveyed institutions produced 651 startup companies in 2010, up from 596 in 2009. But the number of commercial products created stayed flat (657 vs. 658 in 2009) and the number of licenses executed dipped.

Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors has written to the University of Virginia to urge it to more forcefully resist requests for certain e-mail and other records from professors involved in the study of climate change, and from other scientists. While the university has resisted some requests, its recent agreement to one such inquiry has the AAUP concerned that professors' privacy and right to engage in controversial research is being damaged. A university spokeswoman said that the institution would respond to the AAUP, but has not done so yet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 3:00am

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded a $600,000 grant to Indiana University and the University of Michigan to develop an infrastructure for facilitating research involving the digitized works held in the HathiTrust Digital Library, according to an Indiana press release. The goal will be to develop reliable ways for scholars to analyze huge swaths of text in the HathiTrust's holdings using computer algorithms. Google has already opened up its own vault of digitized works to computational analysis by scholars, even coining the term "culturenomics" to describe research that applies quantitative analysis to digitized literature. The HathiTrust, a consortium of more than 50 universities, does not have as many works in its digital vault as Google Books, but has taken steps to emulate that project in hope of building a more academe-oriented alternative.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University of Reading's Bhismadev Chakrabarti discusses research that is uncovering how our social interactions are influenced by our genes. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

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