The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has attracted widespread attention for its emphasis on college completion (as opposed to access alone). A report being released today by Grantmakers for Education argues that there is a widespread shift toward completion efforts by education philanthropies.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Duke University has suspended the enrollment of new patients in three clinical trials that depend in part on work by a scientist at the university who may have falsely claimed to have been a Rhodes scholar, The News & Observer reported. Duke has placed the scientist, Anil Potti, on administrative leave. (This item has been corrected from an earlier version.)
The Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing Kenneth Howell in the controversy over his teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has given the institution an ultimatum: either assure in writing that Howell will teach his regular courses in Roman Catholic studies in the fall, or he will sue. The letter states that the university has violated Howell's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Howell has for years been an adjunct at Illinois, but he was recently told he would not have additional courses, following complaints over an e-mail he sent to students. His supporters argue that the e-mail was just an explanation of Catholic teachings on homosexuality and that punishing him for that would undercut the values of academic freedom. His critics argue that the e-mail reflected an attempt to indoctrinate students with faith, not teach them about a faith -- and some question the arrangement under which a Catholic center nominates and pays for adjuncts to teach courses on Catholicism at the university. Illinois officials have appointed a committee to study the academic freedom issues involved in the case.
But a letter sent by the Alliance Defense Fund Monday argues that the committee may be unfair to Howell. "We are concerned that the committee's investigation into this matter is tainted already with bias toward affirming the dismissal. President Michael Hogan commented that the purpose of the committee is to 'reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here.' This remark gives us concern that university officials do not appreciate the gravity of the constitutional violations in this situation."
Illinois officials did not respond to requests for comment, but have previously indicated that they were committed to a fair inquiry into the issues.
Harvard University Medical School is setting new rules that will prohibit faculty members from giving promotional talks for drug and medical device makers and accepting personal gifts, travel, or meals from such companies, The Boston Globe reported. The new rules follow scrutiny from Congress over allegations of conflict of interest in federally sponsored biomedical research. Harvard officials told the Globe that they believed the rules would not block legitimate research collaboration between faculty members and companies.
The business schools of Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and Nanyang Technological University, along with the China Europe International Business School and the Indian School of Business, will do joint recruiting and marketing, trying to position themselves as an "Asian Ivy League" of business schools, Bloomberg reported. "There’s the Ivy League in America, so we thought why can’t we Asian business schools do the same kind of thing" said Nick Soriano, director of marketing and admissions at Nanyang, in Singapore. "Even though we are very much each other's competitors, we thought we can all work together in trying to attract and convince people to come to Asia for their MBA."
The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.
China is starting to see some success in its efforts to battle brain drain. AFP reported that while the numbers leaving the country for graduate study continue to increase, there are now increases in the number of graduates who return, sometimes having achieved the highest levels of success at Western universities. One example: Shi Yigong, who was landing big grants as a professor at Princeton University, returned to become head of life sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
A survey of fund raisers by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education projects that donations for the fiscal year that just closed will be 4.3 percent higher than the previous year, and that the next academic year will see gains of 5.7 percent. These figures, if attained, would mark a turnaround for many colleges that have experienced difficulty raising money during the economic downturn. John Lippincott, president of CASE, called the survey results "an encouraging sign that we may return to pre-recession giving levels in roughly two years."
An annual survey by CDW has again found gaps in the views on technology issues between campus IT professionals and faculty members. While 72 percent of IT professionals say that online collaboration software is an essential element to the 21st-century classroom, the survey found, only 31 percent of faculty members agreed. In addition, 68 percent of IT staff say that virtual learning is a key part of the higher education experience; only 35 percent of faculty agree.