Quick Takes: Anger at Irvine, Shift in B-School Admissions, Returning to Harvard, Immigrant Aid Dispute, Suit on Kentucky Trustees, Incentives for Washington's 2-Year Colleges, Assessing Graduate Education in China

September 14, 2007
  • A controversy over a revoked appointment of a dean for the new law school at the University of California at Irvine escalated Thursday, with many professors demanding more information and some faculty members going so far as to call for the chancellor's resignation, the Los Angeles Times reported. Erwin Chemerinsky, a noted legal scholar at Duke University, was to become dean, but he reported that Chancellor Michael V. Drake took back the offer upon realizing that some of his liberal legal writing had been controversial. The idea that a professor would lose his job for sharing views on his area of expertise has infuriated legal scholars nationwide and many faculty members at Irvine. The Los Angeles Times has just published an account by Chemerinsky of what happened and a column by Drake in which he denies that politics played a role in the decision.
  • The Harvard Business School on Thursday announced a major shift in M.B.A. admissions policy, creating a track in which some applicants would be considered while they are still undergraduates and admitted to enroll after working for two years in selected jobs with participating companies. The norm at the business school (and many other top business schools) has been for M.B.A. applicants to have at least five years of post-college work experience.
  • One of the major grievances of many professors against Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president, was his reported skepticism of multicultural research -- and one prominent example was his denial of tenure to Marcyliena Morgan, a scholar of hip hop. After the denial, Morgan -- along with her husband, Lawrence Bobo, who had tenure -- left Harvard's African and African-American studies program for positions at Stanford University. Now both are returning, with tenure, to Harvard. The Associated Press reported that Derek Bok, then interim president, approved the tenured offer, in May, with the backing of Drew Faust, who is now president.
  • Arizona's state treasurer is demanding an investigation of an Arizona State University program that awards scholarships with private funds to students who lack legal documentation to reside in the United States, The Arizona Republic reported. A voter-passed measure bars the use of public funds for such students.
  • Kentucky's attorney general, Democrat Greg Stumbo, has sued the state's governor, Republican Ernie Fletcher, seeking to invalidate 13 appointments to boards of universities, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Stumbo charges that state law requires political balance in the appointments and Fletcher accuses Stumbo of playing politics.
  • Community colleges in Washington State would receive extra funds when their students improve their academic performance under a new incentive program adopted by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. All of the state's 34 community and technical colleges will have access to the $500,000 set aside for the new incentive program, which will reward them for such things as a student passing a remedial math exam or earning a certain number of credits or a degree, the newspaper reported.
  • China's massive expansion of undergraduate education has been much explored and dissected (out of interest and fear from potential competitors in the U.S. and elsewhere), but the country has embarked on a large effort to expand the production of Ph.D.'s, too, which Wanhua Ma, a professor at Peking University and recent Fulbright New Century Scholar, explores in a new paper published by the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley. The enterprise has grown quickly and broadly, enrolling 364,800 graduate students and producing 27,700 doctoral recipients in 2005. But "there is a need to both increase enrollment and to significantly improve the quality of its faculty and academic programs, with a focus on increasing the ability of students to pursue both scientific research and their knowledge of other nations and cultures," the author writes.
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