Advocates for Yiddish, which is taught regularly at a small number of American colleges, are dismayed that the University of Maryland at College Park is expected to end support for a full-time faculty slot devoted to the language, The Baltimore Sun reported. University officials cite cutbacks across all programs, not any lack of appreciation for Yiddish literature and culture.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Texas Tech University on Monday suspended its head football coach, Mike Leach, after the father of a player said the coach had punished the athlete because he thought he was faking an injury. The university's statement offered little in the way of details, except to say that administrators were investigating the situation. But news reports filled in some of the gaps. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Leach had ordered a player to stand in a shed at the university's football practice facility for two hours twice within two days, after the athlete reportedly suffered a concussion on Dec. 16. Then ESPN reported later Monday that the player was the son of the network's high-profile college football commentator Craig James, himself a former college football star at Southern Methodist University. James and his wife said in a statement that "with great regret and after consideration and prayer," they had told Texas Tech administrators "that their son had been subjected to actions and treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health." This is the third such allegation of mistreatment of a player at a major college football program in recent weeks.
American colleges that opened campuses in Dubai in recent years are struggling to get enrollments that they need, The New York Times reported. The article noted that both Michigan State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology opened campuses last year, just before Dubai's economy collapsed.
The chair of Suffolk University's board, Nicholas Macaronis, is resigning amid criticism of his strong defense of the high compensation package for David Sargent, the president, The Boston Globe reported. Sargent's $1.5 million package has become an increasing source of anger for students, faculty members and alumni.
John Runowicz, former budget coordinator for New York University's chemistry department, was charged Wednesday with submitting $409,000 in bogus expenses -- and succeeding for about five years in fooling his employers, The New York Daily News reported. Authorities say that Runowicz gathered receipts from a Manhattan liquor store and submitted them as expenses, believing (correctly it turns out) that no one would pay attention to what the receipts were actually for. His lawyer declined to comment on the case, but Runowicz pleaded not guilty.
Sarah Thomas on Saturday became the first woman to be a referee in a college bowl game, The Detroit Free Press reported. Thomas was a line judge in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
An article in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explores the way a medical journal has covered topics related to the business that provides millions in royalties to the journal's editor. According to the article, Thomas Zdeblick, a University of Wisconsin orthopedic surgeon, became editor in 2002 of The Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques. Since then, the article said, he has collected large royalties from Medtronic while the journal published a series of "positive" articles involving the company's products -- while readers were never informed of the editor's ties to the company. Zdeblick declined to comment for the article.
Faculty members, administrators and other employees at Mendocino College have agreed to a 4 percent salary cut, starting Jan.1 and continuing for 18 months, to allow the California community college to deal with state budget cuts, The Willits News reported. The move is expected to save the college about $600,000.
An Ethiopian court has sentenced a Bucknell University professor to death, but the sentence was in absentia as the professor is at Bucknell, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The professor is Berhanu Nega, who teaches economics. He calls the charges of which he was convicted -- that he and four others planned an attack on the government's leaders - a tactic to undermine those like himself who have called for democratic reforms in his home country. "By delivering this sentence they are trying to terrorize the population more than anything else," Nega told the Inquirer. "It is their way of telling everybody if you fight for democracy we will kill you, that is the message they are sending."
The British government has urged universities to develop "fast track" college degrees that could be finished in two years instead of the traditional three, The Guardian reported. Government officials said such degrees could save money both for students and the government. University and student groups are skeptical of the idea.