Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Hudderfield is investigating two students who are alleged to have created "Hitler - the Drinking Game" on Facebook, The Yorkshire Evening Post reported. The Facebook group explaining the rules (removed once the university investigation started) attracted 12,000 members. The student founders were known as "Fuhrers," and the game involved cards set in the shape of swastikas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

In a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, three universities agreed not to buy or promote the use of Amazon's Kindle DX or other electronic readers until the devices are fully accessible to the blind. Case Western Reserve University, Pace University and Reed College, all of which were part of a splashy entree into higher education for the Kindle last spring, struck the deals after an investigation prompted by a lawsuit by the National Federation for the Blind and the American Council for the Blind against Arizona State University, another institution that planned an e-reader experiment (that lawsuit was settled last week). Under the agreements with the Justice Department, which take effect when the colleges' current Kindle pilot projects end, "the universities agree that if they use dedicated electronic book readers, they will ensure that students with vision disabilities are able to access and acquire the same materials and information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students with substantially equivalent ease of use."

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

This is the time of year when most elite colleges announce yet another increase in applications, but the hike at the University of Chicago -- 42 percent -- is unusually large. The Chicago Tribune reported that officials cited a range of possible reasons, from increased outreach efforts to the publicity associated with President Obama having been a faculty member.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

Labor supporters in Maryland are raising questions about the fairness of a state panel that recently issued a report calling for improvements in the treatment of teaching assistants and adjuncts at the state's colleges, but that largely punted on the question of unionization. Advocates for graduate students and adjuncts are saying that the idea of collective bargaining was largely ruled out by the commission's leaders early on, and that there was never a full exploration of the subject. The report that was issued described the panel as divided on such issues.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

Lois B. DeFleur will retire this summer as president of the State University of New York at Binghamton. During her 19 years leading the campus, its competitiveness in admissions has skyrocketed and its academic reputation has grown. DeFleur also encouraged the growth of international initiatives. But during the last year, Binghamton has been shaken by scandals in its men's basketball program, whose push for national prominence DeFleur had championed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard an apparel company's challenge to the National Football League's business practices -- a case that could have implications for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which filed a friend of the court brief supporting the NFL in the case. The lawsuit in question, which was brought by a company called American Needle, revolves around whether the NFL can operate as a single business entity or whether it is made of of 32 individual companies (its teams). The outcome in the case could have implications for organizations like the NCAA, which have sometimes sought exemption from federal antitrust laws both to protect themselves from antitrust lawsuits and to give them expanded power to adopt rules that limit the authority of coaches and others (see related article).

Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3:00am

Several American colleges are tracking down students and faculty members on programs or conducting research in Haiti, and the news was encouraging but incomplete Wednesday evening -- amid the devastation of the earthquake there:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 3:00am

  • Kateri Carmola, assistant professor of political science at Middlebury College, in Vermont, has been promoted to associate professor there.
  • John Dooley, associate professor and chair of the department of computer science at Knox College, in Illinois, has been promoted to professor of computer science there.
  • Herbert Holl, coordinator for the arts at Texas Woman's University, has been named director of the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts and UNT on the Square at the University of North Texas.
  • Elizabeth Lorch, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, has been chosen as associate dean for research and graduate studies there.
  • Todd Roswarski, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette, in Indiana, has been promoted to vice chancellor of academic affairs there.
  • Steve Smutko, extension specialist in the department of agricultural and resource economics at North Carolina State University, has been appointed as the Wyoming Excellence Spicer Distinguished Chair in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.
  • Frank H. Wu, professor of law at Howard University, in Washington, D.C., has been selected as chancellor and dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
  • The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 3:00am

    The U.S. Education Department should reject Louisiana's request to be exempted from a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that requires states to maintain their spending on education to receive federal stimulus funds, the head of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education said in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The letter from Lezli Baskerville, who heads the association of black colleges, argues that Louisiana's planned cuts to colleges and schools this year, on top of previous cuts, would be unwarranted at a time when the state has a rainy day fund and is reviewing the structure of its higher education system that could save $150 million. Granting a waiver to the recovery act's "maintenance of effort" provision, Baskerville wrote, "would establish bad precedent and open the floodgates for numerous other states with stockpiled funds to seek a waiver." Baskerville said the was worried that the cuts would devastate the state's historically black colleges, Grambling State and Southern Universities.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 3:00am

    The University of System of Maryland is appealing for reconsideration by the Maryland Higher Education Commission of a decision to block an online degree program in community college administration because it might compete with an in-person program at Morgan State University, The Baltimore Sun reported. Morgan State is a historically black college and the commission cited the state's desegregation pledges to avoid duplicative programs that might undercut its offerings. But those pledges took place before the growth in online learning, and system officials fear the decision in the case could limit future programs. The University of Maryland University College, which wanted to offer the program, is still able to do so -- but not for residents of Maryland.

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