Making selections for those bracket pools takes time away from everything else, including scholarship, according to a new study by a Duke University professor. Charles Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, analyzed data on journal article viewing at 78 research libraries. He found that a drop in usage in the week after the pairings are announced for the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament. Further, he found additional drops at colleges and universities that won "toss-up" games, in the days following those games. “This drop in research activity in these libraries is quantitative evidence of the NCAA tournament’s power to influence patterns of work,” Clotfelter said.
Higher Education Quick Takes
An angry custodial worker at Ohio State University who had received a poor performance review shot two other employees, killing one of them, before killing himself Tuesday, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The university is offering counseling and Gordon Gee, the president, issued a statement offering condolences to the family of the employee who was killed.
Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, says he hasn't given up on the University of California at Irvine. His appearance at Irvine last month set off a wide debate about civility and protest when his talk was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. Now Oren has published an open letter in the university's student newspaper offering to come back to Irvine. "I came to UCI for the opportunity to exchange ideas — a reasonable intention that was hijacked by a minority of students. The disruptive measures exhibited by these students only underscore the importance for dialogue, especially on the frontline of higher learning," Oren wrote. "I would willingly return to your campus and meet with those individuals whose views may not agree with mine as long as we respect the decorum of dialogue and free speech. Middle East issues are not devoid of emotion or nuance. Only with respect and sensitivity from all sides can we attain the conditions necessary to tackle one of the great issues of our time and realize the vision of peace."
New enrollment projections suggest that California's colleges need to find room for another 400,000 students by 2019, and that the state could be on a path of turning away many of them. The findings come from the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The enrollment demands will be especially strong for Latino students, whose numbers could go up by more than 40 percent over the decade.
Jonathan Spence, a Yale University historian who is one of the leading experts on China, was named Monday as the 2010 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor given by the federal government to a humanities scholar each year. Spence's lecture, to be delivered May 20 in Washington, will be called “When Minds Met: China and the West in the 17th Century."
A student organization at the University of Nevada at Reno, UNR Students for Liberty, held a rally Monday to call for the abolition of student government. With balloons, ponies and pizza, the rally cost about $3,000. KOLO-TV News reported that the group got that money from ... the student government.
The University of Kentucky fire marshall is calling for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house to be closed for the rest of this semester and next semester following an unusual and unsafe fire incident, The Herald-Leader reported. According to authorities, they found multiple fire code violations after responding to an incident in which a fraternity member set fire to a friend who was wrapped in toilet paper.
A group of major corporations in Britain says that the government's push to expand access to higher education has devalued university degrees there, The Guardian reported. The British government has set a goal of having 50 percent of all citizens under 30 attain a college degree, and that effort "driven down standards and devalued the currency of a degree and damaged the quality of the university experience," says a report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which represents 800 companies.
Federal authorities have charged a California man with a massive visa fraud scheme in which he is alleged to have attended 10 different colleges in Southern California, sitting in class, writing papers and taking exams -- all while pretending to be other people who needed to pass the courses to keep their student visas, the Los Angeles Times reported. Daniel Higgins is alleged to have helped about 120 students, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. He pleaded not guilty on Monday and declined to comment on the case.