Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Two of the players on the men's basketball team at Polytechnic Institute of New York University are 25. So is the coach, Joshua Washington. A profile in New York magazine looks at what it's like to be the youngest head basketball coach in the country. "I grew a beard. I bought suits" and 50 new ties, he told the magazine."If I wear a polo with pants, I tuck it in like old people do. And, like, at a game against Purchase College, the ref called me Mister Washington instead of Coach Washington -- to make me sound older, I think. It takes a while with all the mister and coach stuff; it's weird hearing your friend's dad call you 'sir.' I'm sorta not allowed to be 25."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

A leading figure in physics, Andrew Lange of the California Institute of Technology, killed himself last week, leaving many of his colleagues deeply saddened and confused. Last year, Lange won the prestigious Dan David Prize, worth $1 million, in astrophysics. While unrelated to Lange's death, concerns about suicide have been prominent at Caltech of late because of three student suicides in the last year. Following those deaths, the institute created a task force on mental health issues and has brought in extra counselors as needed. An outside consultant is also studying options for helping students who may face mental health difficulties. The campus counseling center was open over the weekend, following Lange's death.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

Regents and senior administrators have come in for tough criticism at campus protests in the last year, with many students questioning their priorities. But some of the targets of that criticism are making it known that they will join forces with the protesters when they shift their attention to Sacramento at a planned rally March 4 designed to pressure state officials to provide more support for education at all levels. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that some university leaders are a little uncomfortable about joining forces with the students, but that most believe that the March 4 rally is important and is on issues on which students and administrators agree. Not everyone who has been protesting, however, is impressed. The blog Changing Universities called the regents' interest in joining the rally "a cynical publicity stunt."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

What would Bill Gates fund? That's the question many in higher education want to know and his annual letter about his interests for his foundation offers some guidance. This year, one of his areas of interest is online learning. "So far technology has hardly changed formal education at all. But a lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the Internet will surprise people in how it can improve things — especially in combination with face-to-face learning. With the escalating costs of education, an advance here would be very timely," he writes. He praises colleges and universities for putting lectures online, but argues that online learning also needs to include interactivity. He also expresses interest in identifying the best educational materials online and better organizing them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

The student editors of The Independent Florida Alligator are apologizing -- sort of -- for a cartoon published last week that depicted a couple having sex while texting a contribution to Haiti relief efforts. An editorial called "Haiti cartoon wasn't meant to offend" noted that the newspaper is run by students, and that they have supported efforts to raise money to help with the devastation in Haiti. The editorial pledges not to "be bullied" out of running "sexToons" like the one that appeared. The editorial did say, however: "We apologize if the execution fell a little flat, but the cartoon was certainly not malicious, and offense was never our intention."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00am

The financial scandal involving Alabama's community college system continues to grow. On Monday, authorities arrested Rick Rogers, the former president of Shelton State Community College, and Karen Van Luvender, the former dean of business services, The Tuscaloosa News reported. Each was charged with two counts of first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree theft by deception.

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 3:00am

Elsevier is pushing the only one of its journals that doesn't use peer review -- Medical Hypotheses -- to start using peer review, Times Higher Education reported. The journal has to date published articles that its editor -- Bruce Charlton, professor of theoretical medicine at the University of Buckingham -- believes are "radical, interesting and well argued," Times Higher said. Elsevier started the push to change the publishing process after a controversy over the journal's publication of an article arguing that HIV does not cause AIDS. Charlton is opposing the proposed changes. "Medical Hypotheses has for 34 years been editorially reviewed and radical," he said. "Therefore [the proposals] cannot possibly be acceptable."

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 3:00am

President Obama will use his State of the Union address to propose limits on the total amount of federal student loan repayments that a recent college graduate could be required to make, The New York Times reported. The address on Wednesday will feature a series of proposals -- smaller in scale than the reform of health care being debated in Congress -- designed to help families. The loan proposal would cap repayments for recent college graduates at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, the Times said.

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 3:00am

Chicago State University wants its statue back. A columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times revealed Friday that a $25,000 statue of an African slave (bought by the university with state funds that were earmarked for a financial aid center) is apparently now in the possession of State Rep. Monique Davis. The column reported that the university -- where a new president is trying to get finances and management under control after a series of financial scandals -- doesn't know how the statue got lost, but wants it back. Davis has been refusing to return the statue, despite multiple requests from the university. On Saturday, the Sun-Times reported that Davis was seeking a legal opinion before announcing her plans for the 400-pound work of art.

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 3:00am

The body of one of the Lynn University students missing in Haiti has been found and her family members have been informed, WPBF News 25 reported Sunday. She was apparently killed immediately after the devastating earthquake. Three other students and two faculty members from Lynn are unaccounted for. Reports from Haiti suggest that the efforts there have shifted from those aimed at rescuing survivors to those aimed at recovering bodies of those killed. The parents of one of the missing Lynn students who have been particularly outspoken in urging intensified rescue operations ended a vigil they have kept at Lynn's campus in Florida and returned to Massachusetts. In remarks Thursday evening, Lynn's president, Kevin M. Ross, stressed the importance of recovering all of those caught in the earthquake -- even if they did not survive. "This is needed for every grieving father, son, mother, daughter, friend and neighbor who is aching at this very moment for a phone call. Whenever that phone call comes, I join the families of our missing six in demanding that such a call contain news of the whereabouts of the missing. A missing family member, whether alive or dead, must be returned to his or her loved ones," he said. At the same time, he said that the university was not giving up hope, saying "We still believe in miracles."

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