Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has removed from a key position a cleric who recently criticized a new university for enrolling both male and female students, AFP reported. The cleric had called the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology's policy "evil." No reason was given the for the king's removal of the cleric, Sheikh Sa'ad al-Shethry, from the council that sets religious policy for the country.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

Morehouse College has fired a woman and reprimanded another employee over remarks they made in an e-mail mocking a gay wedding, and forwarding the e-mail to others from their Morehouse accounts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Robert M. Franklin, Morehouse's president, has said several times that he believes the college must promote respect for gay people. In a statement, he said that the views in the e-mail "were the personal views of one individual and do not reflect the values or policies of Morehouse College.... The college has taken great strides toward building a diverse and tolerant community.”

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

The fallout continues to grow in the basketball scandal at the State University of New York at Binghamton. On Friday, Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the SUNY system, announced that the system -- and not the Binghamton campus, as previously suggested -- would oversee an audit of the basketball program. Also on Friday, Sally Dear was informed that she would continue to have work as an adjunct (although in a new department), reversing a recent notification that she would no longer have such work, The New York Times reported. Dear said that she believed her dismissal last month -- after teaching at Binghamton for 11 years -- was related to her willingness to speak out in the Times about the difficulty of teaching some athletes and pressure from the athletics department over grading.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

Stanley O. Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois system and of the American Council on Education, was named Saturday as interim president at the University of Illinois, which is recovering from an admissions scandal that led to the resignation of B. Joseph White, who will leave the presidency at the end of the year. In a statement, Ikenberry said: "My top priorities will be to support the board in its search for an outstanding president and to work with faculty and academic leaders on all three campuses as we move forward to address a very challenging agenda. We have abundant energy and many friends and we’ll need both.”

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

The University of Wisconsin's medical school, like many medical schools, has been examining conflict of interest rules in the wake of reports about medical researchers' possible conflicts of interest from large speaking or consulting fees they receive from companies whose products they study, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The medical school is now divided over a draft ethics rule that originally barred such payments, but has since been amended to allow payments from medical device manufacturers. Some professors are upset that the medical professors who would be sought by such companies would have a loophole, and others are upset that those who would work with drug companies don't have their own loophole, the newspaper reported.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

Education Management Corporation's initial public offering was priced at the low end of its proposed range Friday, but gained during trading after launch, the Associated Press reported. Education Management is the third education IPO since November, following those of Grand Canyon Education, Inc. and Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Education Management's holdings include the Art Institutes and Argosy University.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

Last year's collapse on Wall Street has left many state prepaid tuition plans in unhealthy shape, The New York Times reported. Some states are imposing new fees on families, while others are developing scenarios for what to do if they close, and still others are receiving bailouts from their states. The plans, designed to assure families of the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities, were promoted as a completely secure way for families to save money and for states to promote higher education.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

The Phi Beta Kappa Society has voted to allow four more colleges to create chapters. The society admits new chapters only at its triennial meeting, and this year has accepted applications from Butler University, in Indiana; the College of Saint Benedict-Saint John’s University, in Minnesota; Elon University, in North Carolina; and James Madison University, in Virginia. The honorary society declined to name the colleges that were not successful in their bids to start chapters. Among the selection criteria: "evidence that the educational programs and academic environment of an applicant institution effectively quicken the mind and spirit of its students and faculty by encouraging the full development of their human capacities," "primary emphasis to curricula liberal in character and purpose and that courses distinguished by these qualities shall constitute the principal requirements for the bachelor's degree," "appropriate academic demands on those enrolled in its classes, including opportunities for honors studies for those who are especially capable" and "due precautions to prevent issues of governance, athletics, religion or politics from subverting the integrity of the institution's dedication to liberal education."

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

The Community College of Allegheny College has ended a rule requiring students seeking to distribute materials on campus to first have the material reviewed by administrators. The rule set off a dispute this year when college officials cited it to threaten to punish a student trying to organize a "gun rights" group on campus. The student received assistance in demanding a change in the rule from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Monday, October 5, 2009 - 3:00am

The National Archives and Records Administration has released a report on alternatives to the current system for housing presidential papers at libraries throughout the country The report was requested by Congress, amid concerns about the growing cost of the system in which foundations set up by recent presidents donate the records and affiliated museums to the National Archives. One possibility raised in the report (which does not draw a conclusion on the best option) would be to keep the museums under the control of the foundations, not the government. Other possibilities include a central depository for the papers, with museums dispersed or a central museum devoted to the presidency. While the various museums are popular tourist destinations, the libraries themselves -- some of them located at universities -- are key resources for scholars. A summary of the report and a link to it may be found on the Web site of the National Coalition for History.

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