Higher Education Quick Takes

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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.

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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The winner or winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics will be announced this morning. This item will be updated as soon as information is available.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Three researchers will share the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae." The three are:

  • Saul Perlmutter, head of the Supernova Cosmology Project and professor of astrophysics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Brian P. Schmidt, head of the High-z Supernova Search Team and distinguished professor at the Australian National University.
  • Adam G. Riess, professor of astronomy and physics at Johns Hopkins University.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Suffolk University is going through an extensive transition following the resignation last year of President David Sargent, who was criticized for being one of the country's most highly paid college presidents. The Boston Globe reported that the university is expected to appoint 12 new members to its board of trustees today, with more trustee changes possible ahead. In addition, the jobs of several top administrators have been eliminated. Some trustees who were close to Sargent are among those leaving the board.

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.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association last week punished the University of Cincinnati for violations in its women's basketball and football programs. The violations, which the university uncovered and investigated, involved improper telephone calls to recruits by coaches in the two sports, with the vast majority made by a former women's basketball coach. Penalties include restrictions on recruiting and coaching duties.

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