In today’s Academic Minute, Lee Newman, associate professor at the State University of New York's College of Environment Science and Forestry, discusses phytoremediation as a potential clean-up method. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Cedarville University has fired J.D. Winteregg, an adjunct professor of French, over an online video used in his Republican primary challenge to John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Winteregg, who has Tea Party backing, has an ad that is a parody of a Cialis commercial about treating erectile dysfunction. In the Winteregg ad, Boehner's name is mocked and he is said to have "electicle dysfunction." In a statement confirming that Winteregg was no longer teaching, Cedarville said that the university "does not engage in partisan politics and holds a high regard for displaying Christian values in the community."
Georgetown College in Kentucky will eliminate 20 percent of faculty positions and four majors to deal with a deficit brought on by an enrollment decline, Kentucky.com reported. The majors to be eliminated are computer science, French, German and music. The college is also ending temporarily its matching contributions to employee retirement accounts.
Abdelhak Bensaoula and David Starikov, professors of physics at the University of Houston, are facing federal charges of conspiracy, making false statement and wire fraud, all in connection with federal grant applications,The Houston Chroniclereported. No comment was available from the professors, but the university said that the charges -- if true -- would make the institution a victim in the case.
Universities should begin making patents and other industrial and commercial research count toward promotion and tenure, in an effort to stimulate such research nationwide, argues a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. "There is a fundamental disconnect between technology transfer activities and incentives for faculty members in terms of merit raises, tenure and career advancement," Richard B. Marchase, co-author and vice president for research and economic development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a news release. "Beyond the monetary benefit of licensing, which is small in most cases, there is presently little to no benefit to a faculty member's merit raises, tenure and career advancement."
The paper builds on a 2012 report from the National Research Council and other groups saying that business and industry have "largely dismantled large corporate research laboratories that drove American industrial leadership," and which argues that research universities must "fill the gap." In the new paper, called "Changing the Academic Culture: Valuing Patents and Commercialization Toward Tenure and Career Advancement," the authors argue that filling the research gap will entail changing the university "rewards culture" to value not only large research grants but also professors' patents and other commercial activities. Co-author Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, notes that this kind of work should not replace but "add to" traditional means of assessing scholarly activity. The paper's lead author is Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors. An abstract is available here.