Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

In the latest budget cut, City College of San Francisco has called off summer session. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that many students are frustrated, given that they have been closed out of classes in the rest of the academic year and have been hoping to catch up by taking courses during the summer. While some surrounding community college districts have summer sessions, they give priority to their own students and may not have much room for those from San Francisco.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

Yale University has become the latest research institution to announce that it is shrinking graduate admissions. A memo sent to students and faculty members Wednesday -- outlining a series of cuts and the need for more cuts across the university -- said that graduate admissions would be cut by 10-15 percent. However, stipend support will go up by 2 percent. Many universities that rely on endowment earnings to support graduate education have sharply cut graduate admissions since most doctoral students receive large packages of financial support at these institutions, and the universities have not wanted to cut commitments made to continuing graduate students.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3:00am

New York University on Wednesday issued a series of guidelines and rights for the workers who will be employed in constructing the institution's new campus in Abu Dhabi. The rights wouldn't generally be exceptional in the United States, but go far beyond the way many workers are treated in the region. Employees are assured eight-hour days, overtime will be voluntary and compensated, passports and other documents will be retained by the employees, health insurance will be provided, and so forth. The announcement follows concern from some at NYU's main campus that the workers employed in the Middle East would not be treated appropriately. The Associated Press quoted officials with Human Rights Watch as praising NYU's pledges as "precedent setting" for the region and "a huge step forward."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

Southwestern College, a community college in California, has been placed on probation by its accreditor, which issued a harshly critical report on the institution. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the report said that the accreditor cited serious problems with governance, morale and learning. The college was in the news last year for, among other things, suspending four instructors without pay, following a campus rally criticizing the administration's handling of budget cuts. Faculty leaders said that the accreditor's report backed up the criticisms they and student leaders have been making. College leaders said that they were working to remedy the problems and were confident the college would get off probation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

A graduate student has sued the University of Kentucky, saying he was unfairly fired from his job at the university's medical center because he had a handgun in his car, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The car was parked on campus and the student had a permit, but he was fired under university regulations barring anyone from having a gun on campus (with exceptions for law enforcement, military training, or athletic programs that use weapons). His status as a student has not been affected by the gun dispute.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on Tuesday approved a plan for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to absorb the Southern New England School of Law, a freestanding, private institution. Massachusetts residents will gain a public law school under the plan, which university leaders pushed. But critics -- including some at the state's private law schools -- questioned the move.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

British authorities have found that the former registrar of the University of Surrey and of the University of Bath offered African women fake degrees if they would let him spank them, The Times of London reported. He claimed that he was seeking their assistance with a "pain management" study, but that was not the case. Karl Woodgett, the former registrar, pleaded guilty to charges of making false instruments (the university degrees) and of possessing items used for fraud.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3:00am

In theory, "Argyle," the new sculpture installed at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, is about fabric and textiles. But many on the campus see something phallic in the 10-foot work of art. See this photograph from The Tuscaloosa News and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 3:00am

A panel commissioned by Emerson College issued a highly critical report about race at the institution -- while also not finding overt bias against black faculty members, The Boston Globe reported. "There are to be found at Emerson unexamined and powerful assumptions and biases about the superiority, preferability, and normativeness of European-American culture, intellectual pursuits, academic discourse, leadership, and so on," the report said. The biases result in "disproportionate undervaluing of African Americans and the disproportionate overvaluing of European Americans," it added. The report was commissioned amid complaints that only four of Emerson's 117 tenured and tenure-track faculty are black. Of the three who are tenured, two were promoted only after they sued.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The College of William and Mary is preparing to phase out a policy that granted automatic raises of 8 and 7 percent to faculty members in their last two years before retirement, The Virginia Gazette reported. The policy -- in which these professors are removed from the merit review process for raises -- was designed as an early retirement incentive. But officials said that they reviewed the process out of concern that the system limited funds available for raises for others.

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