The White House will today announce a major new effort to boost science and mathematics education, The New York Times reported. The activities will primarily focus on children, not college students, reflecting broad concerns in scientific groups about whether enough young talent is attracted to science and prepared to study science. Major scientific societies, businesses and foundations are expected to be involved. Among the initiatives planned are a new system to match scientists willing to volunteer with schools that could use their help with various programs, and a two-year science focus for "Sesame Street."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The 32 winners of Rhodes Scholarships for this year were announced Saturday night. While the list of their colleges featured many of those that appear regularly, this year's class was the first ever to have a winner from Truman State University.
Ninety-one percent of faculty members at California State University Stanislaus voted no confidence last week in President Ham Shirvani, The Modesto Bee reported. Faculty leaders stressed that frustration with the president extends beyond the current budget problems in the state. They said that there have been problems with financial management and lack of communication that predate the current crisis. A university vice president said that the vote wasn't a surprise, given how painful budget cuts have been. In Ohio last week, faculty members at Owens Community College voted no confidence in Paul Unger, the provost, The Toledo Blade reported that faculty leaders blame Unger for the loss of accreditation for the college's nursing program. College officials have apologized for the loss of accreditation.
Support groups for male students are starting to appear at British universities -- and while some see them as organizations allowing men to explore issues of masculinity, others fear that they are "just a front for macho activities and beer-drinking marathons," The Guardian reported. Alex Linsley, founder of Man Collective-Oxford, said: "There is so much conflicting information for men. There is massive confusion as to what being a man means, and how to be a good man. Should you be the sensitive all-caring, perhaps the 'feminized' man? Or should you be the hard, take no crap from anybody kind of figure? Neither of those are particularly useful paradigms. But there's perhaps things we could learn from both perspectives." Some women reject the idea that universities need new efforts for men. Olivia Bailey, national women's officer for Britain's National Union of Students, said: "Discrimination against men on the basis of gender is so unusual as to be non-existent.... To suggest that men need a specific space to be 'men' is ludicrous, when everywhere you turn you will find male-dominated spaces."
Faculty members at Oberlin College voted last week to create an online and free archive to which they will add all work they publish in peer reviewed journals. The move, similar to those taken by faculties at several research universities, reflects support for the open access movement in which the paid subscription model for journals is being challenged. Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies and chair of the General Faculty Library Committee said in a statement: “The current system of journal publishing, which largely relies on subscriptions and licenses, limits access to research information in significant ways, particularly for students and faculty at smaller and less wealthy institutions, as well as for the general public. Access is also seriously limited around the world in countries with fewer resources.”
The board of the Utah College of Applied Technology has agreed to reconsider its recent presidential hire, admitting that the process in which he was hired broke state rules, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The board will re-interview Richard Brems and also the other finalist and reconsider the hire. The original decision was improper because the full board did not interview finalists and information about the finalists was not released to the public.
Are LeTourneau University undergraduates being robbed of credit for a prosthetic knee they invented? The university thinks so, according to The News-Journal. Time recently praised Stanford University's prosthetic knee as one of the best inventions of the year, and that honor led LeTourneau officials to investigate and to challenge the idea that this was truly a Stanford invention. Stanford officials told the newspaper that its design was unique.
The new community college at the University of the District of Columbia needs independence from the university to be "credible and legitimate," according to a report being released today, The Washington Post reported. The study praises the establishment of the community college in a city that had lacked one, but says that UDC has lost the confidence of the business community, a situation that would hurt the development of the community college. Officials of the college said that their institution would be judged by the quality of graduates, not the link to UDC.
The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally at the University of Mississippi Saturday to protest the university's ban on shouting the final line of a fight song: "The South shall rise again," The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The university has been discouraging the last line -- going so far as to change a song commonly performed at football games -- because the line is offensive to many who see it as a link to the university's racist past. The Klan sees the issue in a different way. "This is not a white or black issue at all. It's freedom of speech. They've got a right to say what they want at the game," said Shane Tate, a Klan leader in the state.
Without admitting wrongdoing, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has agreed to pay $40,000 to a former employee who says she was fired after the university learned that she is a witch, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The woman formerly directed a youth program at the university.