The National Geographic Channel has indefinitely put off a new television show "Nazi War Diggers" that was to have featured the digging up of Nazi war graves, The New York Times reported. The action followed strong criticism of the planned program by the American Anthropological Association and other scholarly groups. Scholars, who conduct digs according to ethical standards, have said that their work is undercut when television shows suggest that digs are about entertainment or making money.
In today's Academic Minute, Frederic Bouchard, a postdoctoral research fellow at Université Laval, explains his work with the climate models of many areas across Canada. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
The Faculty Senate at the College of Charleston voted unanimously Tuesday that it has no confidence in the college's board. The vote was prompted by the recent pick of a career politician known for his love of Confederate history as the next president of the college. Board members -- elected by legislators -- have said that Glenn McConnell's political connections will help the college. But students and professors disagree.
The resolution of no confidence says that the search was conducted with "clear disregard" for best practices, by adding candidates (including McConnell) to a list of finalists prepared by the search committee. Further, the resolution notes board members who have been raising questions about the teaching of books that offend them, and an apparent disregard in the college's mission as a liberal arts institution. "[T]hese recent actions and positions have hurt the image and brand of the college and appear likely to negatively impact our ability to recruit students, expand our outreach to minorities, recruit and retain faculty, and successfully engage in fund-raising," the resolution says.
In today’s Academic Minute, Steve Ross, research associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Center for Marine Science, calls the ocean floor the last great frontier on Earth. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
The hiring of "star" professors -- defined by their research output -- results in improvement in the research productivity of the departments they join, according a study published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, The study (available to subscribers; abstract available here), by scholars at the University of Toronto, Georgia Institute of Technology, and National University of Ireland, Galway, finds that the recruitment of research stars does nothing to lift the productivity of those already in the department (and actually leads to reduced productivity of some of them). But the productivity of researchers who join the department after a star joins increases significantly -- for scholars who work in related and unrelated fields alike. The study finds that the effects are most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions.
In today’s Academic Minute, Thalia Wheatley, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College, scientifically deconstructs the way humans use figurative language to convey abstract ideas. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
A Michigan Senate subcommittee has proposed taking $500,000 away from Michigan State University's budget if it continues to run a training program for unions, The Lansing State Journal reported. Language in the budget bill would punish universities that if they “participate in any instructional activity that encourages or discourages union organizing of employees.” A number of public universities have such programs, and supporters note that most universities offer extensive programming for business leaders on a range of topics, including labor relations. The blog of the American Association of University Professors calls the budget provision a "major attack on academic freedom in Michigan."