Educators and some political leaders in Australia are concerned about a sharp decline in the study of Indonesia, The Age reported. Many in Australia have hoped that its proximity to Indonesia could, with greater knowledge of the country, provide an economic edge as economic growth in the area takes off. Instead, the opposite seems to be taking place, with a 37 percent decline in university enrollments in Indonesian in the last decade. Enrollments are also down in courses focused on Indonesia's history and economy.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Kring of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University describes the known and unknown challenges of long-term space flight. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Many German academics are frustrated by the impact of the Bologna Process, under which European nations have moved to make their degree programs consistent and to outline appropriate learning outcomes, Times Higher Education reported. The article quoted comments from a conference in Germany where academics said that the Bologna emphasis on job-related skills had resulted in less emphasis on encouraging critical thinking skills. “Employers complain that students are immature, unprepared and not comparable with former graduates," said Felix Grigat, a representative of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers. “Students and staff are also complaining about a move away from an academic experience to one concerned with skills."
Anna Maria College last month withdrew an invitation to Victoria Kennedy, the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy, to deliver a commencement speech, citing opposition from the local bishop, who said that some of Kennedy's views conflict with Roman Catholic teachings. Now it turns out that the bishop won't be attending commencement either. A spokesman for the Rev. Robert J. McManus, bishop of Worcester, told The Boston Globe that college officials "felt the bishop would be a distraction to the event,’’ and so asked him not to attend. "He was going to attend, but that’s not going to happen now," the spokesman said.
J. Paul Reddam, owner of Saturday's Kentucky Derby winner, I'll Have Another, was once a philosophy professor at California State University at Los Angeles. He left academe to found DiTech, a mortgage loan company, and his sale of that company gave him the resources to become a major player in horse racing, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. In an interview with the publication Thoroughbred Owners of California, Reddam gave this reason for leaving academe. "Money," he gave as the reason. "You know, I enjoyed the teaching, and certainly the hours were very flexible. But you can only make so much money at it, which isn’t very much, so I decided I needed to get a real job."
Both houses of Connecticut's legislature on Friday passed a bill that would require public colleges to embed remedial education in credit-bearing courses, with extra tutoring and assistance for students who need remedial help. The bill had worried some in the state, who felt that abolishing all remedial classes would be unworkable, considering the learning deficiencies of some students. However, the State Senate included an amendment that would allow for one semester of standalone remediation, assuaging some concerns about the bill, which now goes to the state's governor for his consideration.
The University of California at Berkeley on Friday fired Diane Leite, formerly an assistant vice chancellor, who was demoted previously but not fired when word surfaced that she had helped triple the pay of her lover, also a Berkeley employee, The San Jose Mercury News reported. When the scandal first broke, many Berkeley faculty members expressed shock that she wasn't fired immediately. Leite did not return calls and her lawyer declined to comment.
Rutgers University charges its students nearly $1,000 each a year -- more than the charges at any other university -- to finance football, Bloomberg reported. The total comes from an analysis by the news service based on student fees and direct university funding for the football program. Officials at Rutgers have said for years that investments in athletics would pay for themselves in the end, but many faculty and student groups have charged that the university spends too much on athletics.
Sweet Briar College, faced with financial difficulties caused by lower than desired enrollment levels, is shrinking its faculty, and eliminating two majors, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported. The college has 605 students, but has room on campus for 750-800. Sweet Briar plans to cut the equivalent of 11 full-time faculty positions (though some of the cuts will be of part-timers), bringing the faculty size down to the equivalent of 85 full-time positions. The majors that will be eliminated are German and engineering management. Sweet Briar has been struggling with attracting more students since 2009.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Friday released a report detailing academic fraud in a scandal set off by a report about inappropriate treatment received by a football player, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The fraud involved inappropriate incidents in 50 classes, ranging from faculty members who didn't show up to unauthorized grade changes for students. Many of the questioned classes were taught by Julius Nyang’oro, former chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department. He resigned from the chair position in September. With the release of the report, the university announced that Nyang’oro is retiring on July 1. “Professor Nyang’oro offered to retire, and we agreed that was in the best interest of the department, the college and the university,” said Nancy Davis, associate vice chancellor for university relations.