In today’s Academic Minute, Dana Hawley of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University explains why diseases evolve more virulent strains that pose a greater threat to the host. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Scholars and others are criticizing the University of London for a plan to sell four early editions of Shakespeare's plays, The Guardian reported. The university says it has other early editions of Shakespeare and could used the money raised at auction (perhaps up to $8 million) to refresh its collections. Richard Eyre, former director of Britain's National Theater, said: "Both in itself and as an emblematic gesture it is wrong. Partly because it sets a precedent: these things must be valued, and if academic institutions don't value them the game is up, really. It's completely wrong, indefensible."
A professor of vocal music education at the University of Wisconsin at Superior is on paid leave as the institution investigates revelations that he is a convicted sex offender. Reports surfaced late last month that Matthew Faerber pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child and was sentenced to six months in prison, when he was the choir director at Murray High School in Utah, the Duluth News Tribunereported. Both counts involved 13-year old students.
Faerber was hired in 1998, before Superior required employee background checks (in 2007).
Faerber told the News Tribune: “This went through the court system; I have paid for what I did,” he said. “I have been clean 100 percent.”
A university spokeswoman said Superior is conducting an investigation to ensure the safety of current students. No complaints have been filed against Faerber at Superior, according to the newspaper. It’s unclear if or when he’ll be allowed to return to campus. In an e-mail, the spokeswoman said "we need to be diligent and thorough in our fact-finding investigation before we can draw conclusions."
A survey of 3,700 scientists across disciplines has found large numbers reporting that their research and the way they spend their time have been severely affected by the across-the-board budget cuts ordered by Congress. The survey -- conducted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular in collaboration with other science groups -- reported the following findings, among others:
18 percent are considering continuing their research career in another country.
64 percent report that they are having difficulty getting grant funding.
45 percent have a colleague who has lost his or her job.
80 percent report that the time they spend writing grant applications has increased.
64 percent said that their grant funding has decreased.
A professor of psychology at Central Michigan University is on paid leave, facing embezzlement charges. Justin Dohoon Oh-Lee is accused of creating aliases to collect more than $35,000 in subject stipends from Parkinson’s disease research he oversaw, the Morning Sun reported. He allegedly used the funds to gamble at casinos across the country, including in Las Vegas. A senior university auditor found irregularities in Oh-Lee’s professional development account in April and contacted police, according to the report. Another university official noticed suspicious activity in an account related to Oh-Lee’s research in November 2012.
Oh-Lee is out on bail. He did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
In an e-mail, a university spokesman said the institution is aware of the charges against Oh-Lee, and is conducting an internal investigation as it continues to cooperate with outside legal authorities concerning the case.