An article in The New York Times details the connection between a Columbia University professor and a political scandal that has shaken New York State government. Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly, was indicted on a series of charges last week on an alleged scheme involving the work of Robert N. Taub, the Columbia professor. The indictment charges that Taub, whose research focuses on a form of cancer caused by asbestos, refers patients to a law firm that employed Silver. In return, the indictment says, Silver obtained millions of dollars, and he funneled state support to Taub's research center. Prosecutors have reached an agreement with Taub not to prosecute him in return for his help on the case. Columbia announced Friday that it was shutting down Taub's research center.
Authorities last week arrested a man who entered a classroom at Louisiana College and tried to pass himself off as a professor. A student who realized that the man was not the professor left the classroom and called the police. The man has been charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
A job ad for a position at the University of Bristol, in Britain, is capturing attention with its headline: "Associate Dean of Eureka Moments." (The first Eureka moment is illustrated at right -- but today's deans may be inspired in other locations.) The ad is actually for associate dean for the university's Faculty of Health Sciences. The position -- detailed here -- is for an "inspirational educational leader, who can build on our established reputation as a pioneering powerhouse of global medical research and education."
Jonathan Sandy, the dean of health sciences, said via email that the person who is hired won't actually hold the title associate dean of eureka moments. "This was to attract interest," he said. "The idea was from the advertising company and we are getting some interest even this early."
In today's Academic Minute, Stacy Tye-Williams, professor of communication and English at Iowa State University, sheds some light on bullying as it occurs in the professional arena. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Members of Columbia College’s part-time faculty association, “P-Fac,” voted 232 to 50 to disaffiliate from the Illinois Education Association, they announced Wednesday. Just about half of eligible members participated in the vote. Diana Vallera, P-Fac president, said in a statement that the election was really about the ability of “part-time and contingent faculty to control their own destiny.” She said remaining part of the Illinois Education Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, was a “roadblock to effective advocacy for our members.”
P-Fac had raised concerns in recent months about staff members at Columbia College trying to secure teaching assignments that adjuncts wanted. The part-time faculty union worried about the Illinois Education Association’s ability to represent members’ concerns impartially, since the staff union, United Staff of Columbia College, also is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association. The Illinois Education Association said in a statement that it values “the right of [union] members to vote on important issues and to have the results of their vote respected.” But the association also said members had raised “significant” concerns about the fairness of the election process. It said it will conduct an investigation in coming weeks into those complaints. In the interim, the association said it will “continue to honor our commitments to P-fac members and provide updates as appropriate.”