Quick Takes: N.Y. Governor Backs Faculty Expansion, Top Issues for Academic Librarians, New Positions at Duke, Teacher Training Earns Mediocre Grades, Critical Look at Maryland Desegregation, Iran Trip That Isn't, 'Intellectual Affairs' Columnist Honored

January 10, 2008
  • New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer endorsed a plan Wednesday to hire an additional 2,000 full-time faculty members -- 250 of them as "eminent scholars" for the State University of New York and City University of New York systems. Spitzer proposed new grants to support university research and new efforts to ease the transfer of students from community colleges to four-year institutions in the state. The recommendations generally come from a special commission Spitzer appointed to study higher education.
  • The Association of College and Research Libraries has issued an updated list of the top issues facing its members. Among them: the increased emphasis on digitizing collections and preserving digital collections, the evolving skill set for academic librarians performing new rules, debates about intellectual property rights, demands for free access by the public to information, and a sense by students that they are "customers" of libraries.
  • Duke University on Wednesday announced a grant of $40 million from the Duke Endowment of Charlotte to create 32 new faculty positions: 10 new assistant professorships, 10 new associate professorships, and (matched by other funds) 12 new endowed chairs. All of the positions will be for scholars who are also making "innovative contributions to undergraduate education."
  • Education Week is giving mediocre grades to most states in a review of their teacher training policies and programs. The national average was a C, with South Carolina receiving the highest grade (A-) and Oregon the lowest (F). The report was based on policies such as requirements for substantial formal coursework in subject areas taught, written tests of basic skills and subject-specific knowledge, and the rigor of student teaching requirements. The grades are part of "Quality Counts," a larger study produced annually by Education Week.
  • Black students in Maryland have higher SAT averages going in and higher graduation rates coming out if they attend predominantly white institutions instead of the state's historically black colleges, according to an article in The Baltimore Sun. The article explores the impact of funds spent by the state to desegregate -- generally by paying for improvements at black colleges that for years were denied a fair share of funds and programs.
  • Iranian news agencies are reporting that an academic delegation from Columbia University is planning a visit to Tehran to "officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad" for comments Lee Bollinger made in introducing him during a controversial campus visit. But Columbia officials -- including some professors who were upset with Bollinger's comments -- say they know of no such visit.
  • Inside Higher Ed notes with pride the election of Scott McLemee, our Intellectual Affairs columnist, to the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
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