Academic Minute: The Cost of Hiring a Smoker

In today’s Academic Minute, Micah Berman of Ohio State University calculates the cost an employer can expect to incur when hiring a smoker. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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Report Evaluates Ideas for Changing NCAA Structures

After an 18-month study on governance of college sports, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics said in a report that “changes are needed to restore integrity” to college sports.

Among its recommendations, the commission shot down the idea that a new division separate from the National Collegiate Athletic Association might be the next logical step. Instead, the report says, the NCAA’s top committees should include more athletics officials, former athletes and other individuals with experience in college sports -- and governance should not just be left to university presidents, as it is currently. Among the other recommendations are to dedicate a portion of the revenue from the impending college football playoff to support athletes’ educational experience, and revise revenue distribution to strengthen incentives for exceptional academic performance by athletes.

The report also suggests a few ideas “that merit further study,” including a new NCAA subdivision, for football only, for the five major conferences and other high-income programs -- an idea that has gained significant traction in the past few weeks thanks to comments and speculation by major conference commissioners. The commission also proposes a new financial framework that might impose spending limits or encourage limited spending, to create greater financial balance among institutions, as well as greater differentiation of structures among sports for things like conference membership and championship formats.

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Fairmont State Dean Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Peter Lach, dean of fine arts at Fairmont State University, has been charged by West Virginia authorities with second-degree sexual assault, and has been placed on administrative leave, The Charleston Gazette reported. A male employee told authorities that while he was in Lach's office, Lach pulled down the employee's pants and restrained him while starting oral sex. When the employee resisted, he said that Lach shoved him and that his head hit a copying machine. Lach, who is in jail, could not be reached.


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U. of Iowa Tops Princeton Review's 2014 Party School List

The University of Iowa has earned the coveted — or dreaded — top spot on the Princeton Review’s list of the top 20 party schools in the country for 2014, which was released Monday in the publisher’s annual Best 378 Colleges guide.

Despite administrators’ three-year plan to curb binge drinking, the University of Iowa has been inching to the top of the “party school” list for the past three years. It was ranked No. 4  two years ago and moved up to No. 2 on last year's list. The university also earned the No. 1 spot on this year's “lots of hard liquor” list.

Spokesman Tom Moore said in an e-mailed statement that the university is continuing to work to "change the culture" on campus by educating students to only consume alcohol in a legal and responsible manner. In 2010, the Iowa City Council passed a 21-only ordinance, which raised the city bars’ entry age from 19 to 21 after 10 p.m. The percentage of University of Iowa students who engage in "high-risk drinking" is down from 70 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2013, according to the National College Health Assessment survey. There have also been decreases in alcohol-related crime and alcohol-related visits to hospitals, Moore said.

"In each of the last four years, alcohol harm to our students has decreased. It is, frankly, still too high," Moore said. "We are heartened, though, by the steady progress we have made, and are committed to continuing this progress."

West Virginia University, which was named the top party school last year, dropped to the No. 4 spot in this year’s rankings. The University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.

The Princeton Review college guide includes individual profiles of each college, along with rankings based on an online survey of more than 122,000 students nationwide. The top-20 party schools rankings list is based on the answers from a combination of student survey questions about alcohol and drug use, hours of study each day and the popularity of the Greek system. Critics note that students are simply evaluating their own institutions and so the results are not based on actual comparisons.

Bloggers from BroBible (“the ultimate destination for Bros”) decided to take the “flawed” party school rankings into their own hands and created the “BroBible Party School Index” in April. The website scored universities based on a mathematical formula that combines rankings from a number of different lists and years. With an index score of 406.5, West Virginia University took the No. 1 spot on the BroBible’s 50 Best Party Schools list.

 Princeton Review's Top 10 "Party Schools"
1. University of Iowa
2. University of California at Santa Barbara
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
4. West Virginia University
5. Syracuse University
6. University of Florida
7. Ohio University at Athens
8. University of Wisconsin at Madison
9. Pennsylvania State University at University Park
10. Lehigh University


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New presidents provosts Cabrillo Carlow Cincinnati Columbus Tech Governors State Mount Royal NMSU Princeton

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  • Deborah Bordelon, dean of graduate studies at Governors State University, in Illinois, has been promoted to provost and vice president for academic affairs there.
  • Lorette Hoover, president of Altamaha Technical College, in Georgia, has been named president of Columbus Technical College, also in Georgia.

Appeals court finds speaker policies at U. of Tennessee unconstitutionally vague

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In another win for an itinerant preacher, federal appeals court rejects U. of Tennessee's policies on getting permission to speak on campus.

Injunction Blocks Ouster of 4 Democratic Trustees

A North Carolina judge has issued an injunction to block a new state law ordering the removal of four trustees from the board of Central Carolina Community College, The News & Observer reported. The law orders the removal of all four trustees appointed by a local school board, and bars those trustees from running again. The new law does not affect those trustees appointed by a county board of commissioners. The school board is controlled by Democrats, as are its appointees. The county board is controlled by Republicans, as are its appointees, and the state legislator who pushed the bill. A suit challenging the law charges that it is arbitrary, and that it is not the role of the state to remove community college trustees based on their party identification. Mike Stone, the state representative who sponsored the bill, said it was "totally legit."


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New Football Center at 'University of Nike'

An article in The New York Times provides an overview of the new Football Performance Center at the University of Oregon. Among the features noted by the Times: rugs woven in Nepal, couches made in Italy, a weight room featuring a floor of Brazilian hardwood and a barbershop where utensils are from Milan. The center was originally projected to cost $68 million, but the Times reporter found that to be "conservative" based on a tour. The university claims not to know the full cost. Donations from Phil Knight, a founder of Nike, paid for the facility (which has Nike-themed features). University officials said that they were proud to be associated with Nike. "We are the University of Nike,” said Jeff Hawkins, senior associate athletic director of football administration and operations. "We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits."

Survey finds most colleges undecided on adjunct hours

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Most colleges don't plan to alter use of those off tenure-track and haven't figured out how to decide if coverage would be required under the Affordable Care Act, survey finds.

Arcadia Will Not Name Interim President

After abruptly firing its president -- who had been in office for less than two years -- in May, Arcadia University’s board does not plan on naming an interim president by the time classes begin in the fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Instead, chief operating officer Nicolette DeVille Christensen will run the university with the full authority of a president, although not carrying that title. Christopher van de Velde, the board chair, told the Inquirer that Arcadia is being run “very well” by Christensen, and the board is not yet “ready” to start a presidential search.

“She’s been a leader for many years now at the university,” a spokeswoman said about Christensen to Inside Higher Ed. Christensen joined Arcadia in the summer of 2008 and served as vice president of the College of Global Studies.

In the past three years, Arcadia has had four different leaders. Former president Jerry Greiner announced in the fall of 2011 that he would retire at the end of the academic year, but he left his position several months shy of the semester's end. Interim President James P. Gallagher who followed after, was supposed to stay until a new president arrived, but also exited early, a source told the Inquirer. Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III was elected president in 2011 and then mysteriously fired this past spring. Oxholm was shocked when he was fired, and the board never offered an explanation for the decision. His removal spurred anger from faculty, students and community members.

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