Quick Takes: Measure of Faculty Productivity, Hopkins Cuts Punishment in Party Case, Industry Funding and Studies' Conclusions, Penn Professor Charged With Murder, Bowl Protest on Immigrant Tuition, Supreme Court Lets Stand 2 Professional School Cases

January 9, 2007
  • Academic Analytics, a company that sells colleges data that can be used to compare faculty productivity, has released data in various disciplines for 2005. The company's approach has been praised by some experts for moving beyond standard measures, but others have criticized both the methodology and the proprietary nature of some information.
  • Johns Hopkins University has reduced the punishment of a student who was suspended for a role in a Halloween party for which some materials featured images viewed as promoting racial stereotypes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced that Justin Park's punishment had been reduced, but declined to offer specifics, citing Park's request for privacy. FIRE indicated that it remains concerned about the incident -- in which some minority students have accused the university of not doing enough to create a welcoming environment and in which FIRE and others have said that the university was being politically correct and squelching free expression.
  • Industry-financed scientific articles on the health benefits of beverages and other nutritional issues  "may bias conclusions in favor of sponsors' products, with potentially significant implications for public health," five scholars assert in an article published in the online journal PLoS.
  • Rafael Robb, a tenured economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was charged Monday with murdering his wife, Ellen, who was bludgeoned to death in their home last month, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Robb has said that he did not harm his wife, but authorities said that his alibi did not check out, and that parts of his story for the day of the murder did not make sense.
  • Hundreds of students marched Monday night to the site of college football's bowl championship to protest Arizona's new law denying in-state tuition rates to immigrants who are not legally in the United States, The Arizona Republic reported.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two cases involving professional schools Monday. In one, the justices let stand a federal appeals court decision in which Thomas M. Cooley Law School challenged the process by which the American Bar Association accredits law schools; in the other, the court decided not to hear a challenge to the system by which medical school graduates are assigned to training programs.
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