New York University is planning a major expansion, with the goal of increasing its physical capacity by 40 percent over the next 20 years, The New York Times reported. The expansion would take place at NYU's main campus in Greenwich Village and elsewhere in the city. As is the norm in New York City, the plans are likely to face considerable scrutiny from neighborhood groups and preservationists, the Times reported.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Association of American Publishers is reporting a slow start to 2010 for university presses. Across all kinds of publishers, book sales were down 0.7 percent in January, compared to the previous January. But for university presses, the declines were 8.6 percent for hardcover books, 9.4 percent for paperbacks. The higher education category (which includes textbooks) was up by 7.9 percent.
Everyone has a bracket these days. Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University professor who documents and campaigns against grade inflation, unveiled a bracket in which he selected athletic conference members that have made it tough to earn an A. Among the colleges that make his "Sweet 16" are Boston University, Hampden-Sydney College, Florida International University and Reed College.
The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences on Monday sued its former president, Karen Pletz, accusing her of submitting fraudulent expense forms, The Kansas City Star reported. A statement from the university says that as much as 70 percent of the expenses Pletz filed were false -- ranging from lunch at McDonald's to expensive dinners. Pletz has not responded, but news of her dismissal in December stunned Kansas City educators and business leaders, who at the time widely praised her.
The University of Memphis has failed to persuade a National Collegiate Athletic Association appeals panel that penalties imposed on the institution's men's basketball and women's golf programs were excessive. The NCAA said Monday that its Division I Infractions Appeals Committee had rejected Memphis's arguments that the Division I Committee on Infractions had erred last August in requiring the university to vacate its records and return championship revenue from its 2007-8 men's basketball season, when it lost in the national title game. The infractions committee panel had found that Memphis officials had failed to monitor the men's basketball program amid questions raised about the legitimacy of a standardized test taken by a former basketball star, identified in news reports as Derek Rose.
The negative reviews have started for a student play at Tarleton State University even though the critics haven't seen the production. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Christian groups are mad that the university has allowed students to put on Corpus Christi, a Terrence McNally work that depicts Jesus as gay and has him perform a gay marriage. Student actors have been pressured to quit, the newspaper said, but the university has defended the project, citing the values of academic freedom.
Stanford University is talking up a new model of engineering education, with less emphasis on traditional courses and more focus on solving big problems such as global warming, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. While Stanford reports that students are embracing the new approach, officials say that they run into difficulty with the engineering accrediting body, which prefers more traditional engineering courses.
The Common Application continues to grow -- on Monday announcing an additional 25 members, bringing the total number of colleges to 414. While the program was originally most popular among private liberal arts colleges, the new members reflect a broadening of membership. With the addition of the University of Connecticut and the University of Michigan, the program now has flagships from 10 states. And the addition of Columbia University means that the entire Ivy League is signed up. Jacobs University Bremen has become the group's first international member. The Universal College Application, a competitor to the Common Application, has 85 members (including some that participate in both programs).
One animal rights activist has pleaded guilty and another no contest for their roles in stalking and harassing faculty members at the University of California at Los Angeles who conduct research with animals, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Friday. One faces a prison sentence of three years while the other must stay away from all University of California campuses or property. UCLA officials praised authorities for cracking down on those who engage in harassment. "Criminal acts to advance a cause or a belief have no place in a civilized society," said a statement from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. "While we respect the rights of those who take a different view of animal research, we are committed to protecting our researchers from harassment and providing an environment where they can continue their work toward cures and a greater understanding of the human body."
Ann Coulter, whose past statements have offended a wide range of groups, has been warned by a Canadian university where she will appear today that Canada has different views about free speech and hate speech than does the United States. Francois Houle, vice-president academic and provost at the University of Ottawa, sent an e-mail to Coulter that was obtained by The National Post. "Our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or "free speech") in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here.... Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.... I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind." Coulter was not available for comment. But the Post noted that her targets have -- in addition to Muslims -- included Canadians. She once said that "they'd better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."