administrators

Court: UT Austin Can't Revoke Chemistry Ph.D.

A Texas appeals court last week granted an injunction to a 2008 chemistry Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin who’s fighting to keep her doctorate after accusations of scientific misconduct. Suvi Orr’s dissertation paper was retracted for unreproducible data in 2012, but she’s since argued that she misread data and didn’t falsify anything. Austin has twice taken the rare step of trying to revoke Orr’s degree, and she’s sued the university each time, arguing that she wasn’t given an opportunity to defend herself and that she’s the “sacrificial lamb” for an ultimately culpable professor, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The injunction says Austin can’t proceed with actions that could result in the revocation of Orr’s Ph.D. -- specifically a disciplinary process that Orr has called a "kangaroo court" -- until a court of law rules on her full complaint.

A university spokesperson said via email that the institution “respects our students' privacy and, as a policy, will not publicly discuss an individual student's academic performance or issues related to it. We will continue to respond to this lawsuit through the appropriate legal channels.”

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FAMU Faculty Members Air Concerns Over Pharmacy Dean

Over a dozen Florida A&M University faculty members detailed their concerns about the dean of the pharmacy college in a letter sent to administrators and the Board of Trustees last week, The Tallahassee Democrat reported.

At an informal discussion in March, faculty members pointed out many issues they had with Michael Thompson, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at FAMU. However, in the letter sent to the interim provost, interim president and Faculty Senate president, the 15 faculty members wrote that those issues had not been addressed.

The letter was written and sent days after one employee at COPPS broke a colleague’s nose during an argument in the lobby of the pharmacy college building, according to The Democrat.

It also comes after FAMU learned its most recent graduates posted a 59.9 percent first-time passing rate on the national licensure exam for pharmacy. With that pass rate, FAMU is last among 129 colleges whose students take the same exam.

The faculty members who penned the letter told The Democrat that it was written as a call for action -- they want to address the low test scores and internal struggles at COPPS and propel the program forward. FAMU’s pharmacy college accounts for 60 percent of the country’s black graduates in pharmaceutical sciences.

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Saint Rose Faculty Call for President's Ouster

Faculty at the College of Saint Rose voted last week to request that its president, Carolyn Stefanco, be removed from her position, The Times Union reported.

After calling for her ouster by a more than two-to-one margin, the faculty asked the Board of Trustees to dismiss the president. In response, however, the trustees announced their “unwavering support” for Stefanco.

The faculty said it had lost confidence in Stefanco’s leadership because she created an “atmosphere filled with fear of retaliation” at the private New York college.

Since filling the position in summer 2014, the president has overseen dramatic cuts to academic programs and faculty member positions. When the college was facing a $9 million deficit in December 2015, Stefanco suggested slashing 23 faculty positions and 27 academic programs.

At the same time, many faculty and administrators have left the university of their own accord, according to The Times Union. Three of the four deans at the college have said they are leaving.

“Morale is low among everyone at the college,” said Kathleen Crowley, a professor who voted for Stefanco’s ouster.

From the trustees’ perspective, Stefanco has navigated many difficult situations in her three years with Saint Rose. She oversaw the largest first-year class in the college’s history last fall as well as new master’s and bachelor’s programs.

"President Stefanco is leading this institution through a changing environment impacting higher education institutions throughout the nation," the trustees said in a letter to the faculty after last week’s 63-29 vote for Stefanco’s removal.

"Change is difficult, but this is the time for the administration and the faculty to get together behind the strategic plan we have charted to help our college succeed."

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New Post for President Who Survived Ouster Attempt

Washington & Jefferson College announced Friday that its next president will be John C. Knapp (right), president of Hope College. Statements from both Washington & Jefferson and Hope were standard for this kind of transition, praising Knapp. Some at Hope, however, are worried about the transition. Knapp has been president there since 2013. Last year, some board members attempted to oust him. The move failed when students, faculty members and alumni rallied behind Knapp, whom they saw as someone devoted to shared governance, the college's liberal arts mission and seeking ways to advance the mission of the Reformed Church in America, with which Hope is affiliated, while also being more welcoming to gay people and to people of other faiths.

Privately, faculty supporters of Knapp at Hope said they hope Knapp's agenda continues, but that they are worried it may not.

Asked about his job change and last year's tensions, Knapp said via email, "During my tenure as president, the college has been strengthened in nearly every area, thanks to the support and shared vision of Hope's dedicated faculty, staff, students and alumni. Despite the challenges we faced last year, Hope College is better positioned than ever to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment. I am tremendously honored to be president-elect of W&J, which has a stellar academic reputation and storied history."

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Wheaton of Illinois Student Killed at Track Meet

A freshman at Wheaton College in Illinois was killed Saturday afternoon during a track and field event for which he was volunteering, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Ethan Roser, a 19-year-old student from Cincinnati, transferred to the private Christian college outside Chicago just a few months ago, ahead of the spring 2017 semester.

Roser, who was a member of the men’s soccer team at Wheaton, was volunteering at the track meet when he was accidentally struck by a hammer during a hammer throw event around 4:15 p.m.

Campus safety officials and paramedics rushed to the scene and helped Roser get to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“We are deeply grieved, but, because of our faith in Christ, not without hope,” said Philip Ryken, the president of Wheaton College, in a statement. “We ask people to pray for Ethan’s family, his friends and our campus community.”

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New round in debate over Ann Coulter and her right to speak at Berkeley

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She refuses to speak when university says it would be safe and insists she will appear this week. Milo Yiannopoulos says he's coming back in the fall.

NLRB official rules that resident advisers at private colleges may unionize

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Decision by board official clears way for election at George Washington University, but issue could end up in court.

More colleges look to replicate CUNY's accelerated two-year program

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Community colleges in New York and California are hoping to replicate the success of the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, which has doubled completion rates.

Indiana Bars Athletes With Sexual Violence History

Indiana University has announced a new policy under which it will ban the recruiting of any prospective athlete who has been convicted of or pleaded no contest to a felony involving sexual violence, The Indianapolis Star reported. The move comes at a time when several campuses have been criticized for recruiting and enrolling such athletes, some of whom have gone on to sexually assault students.

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Arcadia Adjuncts Form Union

Adjunct faculty members at Arcadia University voted to form a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, they announced Thursday. Elsewhere in Philadelphia, AFT represents adjuncts at Temple University. A spokesperson for Arcadia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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