Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced this morning. This item will be updated as soon as the winners are announced.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of California on Tuesday announced tentative deals with two of its academic unions -- for lecturers and librarians. Both unions are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, and both tentative agreements require union ratification. The deal with the lecturers, would, according to a summary from the university, include the lecturers in the academic merit raise program for 2012-13 and 2013-14, re-open negotiations on salaries for those years, and state that lecturers would pay the same rates for health benefits as paid by tenured faculty members. The deal with librarians, according to the university, would give them the right to participate in the merit increase program as well.

Bob Samuels, president of the lecturers union, said that the tentative contract had two significant gains for his members: A requirement limiting layoffs to scenarios where the classes taught by the lecturers go away, and a provision requiring negotiations between the university and the union for any changes in work duties that the university seeks because of the creation of online programs.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Daniel Shechtman was this morning named winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work discovering quasicrystals -- research in which Shechtman has "to fight a fierce battle against established science," according to the Nobel announcement. Shechtman is Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Increasing numbers of out-of-state students at the University of Colorado at Boulder are filing petitions to get in-state status, and The Boulder Daily Camera reported that a new business is helping some of them -- for a fee. Tuition Angels will help students with all of the paperwork, and then will take a cut of the savings. Students only pay if they gain residency (which most who file petitions do anyway). But those who gain residency pledge to pay 10 percent of what they would have paid in out-of-state tuition rates, each semester -- a bill that could come to $2,885 a year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Ontario may be losing its status as being the focal point of Canadian higher education, The Ottawa Citizen reported. The article noted the traditional strength of Ontario universities, but then reviewed how Western universities -- such as the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia -- are outperforming their Eastern counterparts in attracting endowed chairs and research funds from the government.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

David Willetts, the minister in charge of higher education in Britain's government, held meetings with officials of for-profit higher education companies prior to releasing the country's plan to restructure higher education, BBC reported. Many academics have criticized the plan for failing to provide adequate support for the country's universities, and have questioned his encouragement for for-profit higher education. Among the companies whose officials he met: Education Management Corp. and Apollo Group.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

McGill University cancer researchers have come up with an unusual way to raise money -- by dancing on YouTube. The video is attracting considerable attention in Canada and elsewhere, and university officials hope that gifts will follow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Leaders of the Madison Area Technical College Part-Time Teachers' Union are floating an unusual idea to transform the union in the wake of Wisconsin's law largely barring or limiting the rights of most public sector unions, Madison.com reported. Under the idea being discussed (and not picking up widespread support to date), the union would be replaced by a private corporation that would sign a contract with the college to provide instructors and fill various other roles.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michelle Bower of Landmark College explains how a teacher’s perception of a student's math ability can negatively influence actual ability. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The practice at elite M.B.A. programs of not reporting student grades is popular but may not be achieving its stated goals, according to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The theory, believed by many students, is that the policy of keeping grades secret encourages students to take risks in their educations, and to take challenging courses. But at several of the business schools with the policy, reports suggest high levels of apathy and little evidence of the intellectual risk-taking proponents cite, the study found.

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