Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 8, 2012

The University of Waterloo will close its campus in Dubai because of inadequate enrollment and an inability to form partnerships for research, The Record of Waterloo reported. Waterloo opened its campus in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, with ambitions to enroll 500 students by this fall. But a statement from the university Tuesday said that the 80 students enrolled on the Dubai campus could finish their educations on the university's home campus in Ontario.

November 8, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Claire Fraser of the University of Maryland explains the growing understanding of how microbes influence overall human health. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 7, 2012

A former dean at St. John’s University accused of stealing more than $1 million from the institution and forcing international students to perform personal chores as a condition of their scholarships was found dead on Tuesday; police are investigating her death as a suicide, The New York Times reported. Cecilia Chang was midway through her trial at the federal court in Brooklyn, where she took the stand on Monday. As St. John’s vice president for international relations and dean of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chang allegedly charged hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses to a university credit card, and forced international students to clean her house and hand-wash her underwear, among other chores. Chang faced up to 20 years in prison.

November 7, 2012

The University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it has created 100 endowed chairs by matching a $113 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant was made amid concern that Berkeley risked losing star faculty members to private institutions in an era when the state could not be counted on to support faculty salaries. By endowing the chairs, the university hopes to hold on to and attract top faculty talent, which in turn is expected to attract top graduate students.

 

November 7, 2012

About 350 students at Fairfield University were displaced by Hurricane Sandy, and the university is relocating them with friends, with local volunteers and others. Four students have an unusual new home, The Connecticut Post reported. President Jeffrey von Arx opened his home, and they have moved in.

November 7, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Erica van de Waal of the University of St. Andrews reveals the important role mothers play in learning among groups of vervet monkeys. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 6, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education is questioning the "financial responsibility" of Corinthian Colleges based on the department's interpretation of the for-profit's estimated intangible assets, according to a corporate filing. If not resolved, the matter could lead to Corinthian losing its eligibility to participate in federal financial aid programs. The company said in a statement that it disagrees with the department's revised take on its assets. Representatives from Corinthian and the department will meet soon to discuss the issue.

November 6, 2012

The Association of American Universities on Monday announced that it had invited Boston University to join its ranks. Membership in the AAU is highly sought by up-and-coming research universities. The last new members was the Georgia Institute of Technology, in 2010. Last year, the AAU lost two members, with Syracuse University leaving voluntarily and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln being kicked out. At that time, AAU leaders said that they didn't want the organization to get too large, and that they wanted to periodically evaluate whether members met the criteria for membership. An AAU spokesman said that no institutions were asked to leave this year.

 

November 6, 2012

The American Association of University Professors has asked for a fuller explanation of the University of San Diego's decision last week to rescind an invitation to Tina Beattie, a British professor asked to be a visiting fellow at the Roman Catholic university, because of her positions on social issues. In a letter to Mary Lyons, the university's president, the group drew parallels with a similar situation four years earlier and said it was "surprised and disappointed" that the issues arose again. "We appreciate that you may have additional information that would contribute to our understanding of the serious issues of academic freedom with which we are concerned. We would therefore welcome your comments," wrote B. Robert Kreiser, the AAUP's associate secretary.

Lyons, in a statement, said that it was Beattie's decision to sign a letter supporting gay marriage as a Catholic theologian that influenced her decision. "I want to emphasize that it was not her teaching or scholarship that prompted me to rescind this invitation," Lyons wrote. "I respect her right, as an academic and a Catholic theologian, to engage in whatever work she deems necessary and important." But she said that those speaking at the university's Center for Catholic Thought and Culture should support "both the mission of the center and the Catholic character of our university," and she believed Beattie's public dissent from the church was at odds with those goals.

November 6, 2012

Smith College will mark Election Day (and remind students to vote) by serving food items associated with presidents. On the menu today: New England clam chowder (a favorite of President Kennedy), mini ballpark franks (inspired by the time President Franklin D. Roosevelt served them to British royalty), and jelly beans (President Reagan's favorite snack). President Obama will be represented by his favorite chili recipe. And to assure a bipartisan spirit to the day, hummus favored by Governor Mitt Romney will also be served.

 

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