Steven Maranville has sued Utah Valley University, charging it with breach of contract after he left a tenured appointment with the University of Houston to teach at Utah Valley and then was told after a one-year probationary period that his style was not working with students, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The suit charges that the decision was based inappropriately on student complaints. The university has said that it will defend itself against the suit, but has not provided details of its perspective on the issues.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Some faculty members at the University of Sydney are calling for officials to call off a campus event with Israeli scientists, saying that such a program would offend Muslim students, The Australian reported. An e-mail circulated among faculty members said that Israeli universities are complicit in government mistreatment of the Palestinians, and that Israeli universities should teach in Arabic. Organizers of the event with Israeli scientists note that another such event is planned with Arab scientists. Manuel Graeber, a neuroscientist at the university, e-mailed colleagues in defense of the planned program. "The event with Israel should go ahead exactly as planned," he wrote. "There is absolutely nothing questionable about it. Academics must not be held hostage by ideologies."
The number of first-time applicants to medical school increased by 2.6 percent in 2011, to 32,654, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported on Monday. The AAMC also reported an increase of 3 percent, to 19,230, in the entering class in 2011. Medical educators have been pushing for increases in enrollments, citing projected physician shortages in the years ahead, especially in general medical fields.
Enrollment increases were also reported this month by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, which found that total enrollment at osteopathic medical colleges now tops 20,600, a 6.5 percent increase.
Adjuncts at Northern Michigan University have voted to join a union of tenured and tenure-track faculty members. The expanded unit is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors. The vote of adjuncts to join the union was 54-5. That means that about 100 adjuncts will join the roughly 300 faculty members already in the union.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is receiving new backing from academe. The Council of the American Studies Association has released a statement expressing support as faculty members who study and teach about American society. "As educators, we experience the dismantling of public education, rising tuition, unsustainable student debt, and the assault on every dimension of education," the statement says. "As American Studies scholars, our work includes, among other things, addressing the problems and challenges societies face, drawing lessons from the past, comparing across polities, and making informed recommendations that will spark open debate. We draw inspiration from earlier social movements that have challenged the unequal distribution of power, wealth, and authority. Today’s movements continue this necessary work. The uprisings compel us to lift our voices and dedicate our effort to realizing the democratic aspirations for an equitable and habitable world. We are the 99 percent."
The Council of University of California Faculty Association created an open letter of support, now signed by more than 1,000 faculty members, that says in part: "We, members of the faculty of the University of California, write in solidarity with and in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement now underway in our city and elsewhere. Many observers claim that the movement has no specific goals; this is not our understanding. The movement aims to bring attention to the various forms of inequality – economic, political, and social – that characterize our times, that block opportunities for the young and strangle the hopes for better futures for the majority while generating vast profits for a very few."
The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors is among the groups that had scheduled meetings in Arizona prior to the state adopting a law many view as unconstitutional and anti-immigrant. The association went ahead with its meeting, but has now issued a statement about immigration laws and their impact. The statement pledges support for all students at the colleges the counseling center directors serve, regardless of the students' immigration status. "Our organization declares our support for, and intention to promote compassion and inclusion for all who live within the borders of the United States, in our communities and on our campuses," says the statement. "Our work shows that students thrive and achieve their maximum potential in a climate where all can feel safe, valued and respected. As mental health professionals in higher education, we strive to build healthy and inclusive campus and community climates. Our compassion has no borders. We advocate for students who are misunderstood, marginalized, or unfairly devalued despite their efforts to be educated and productive members of our communities. We advocate for all students to take full advantage of the richly diverse learning environment on and off campus, to understand the demands and responsibilities of global citizenship, and to extend a compassionate hand to those yearning to contribute to our robust society."
Guidance counselors and applicants to the University of California are reporting widespread confusion over the system's shift to no longer require SAT subject exams, The Los Angeles Times reported. The controversial decision to keep the main SAT (or ACT) as a requirement but to end the requirement that students take the SAT subject exams was promoted as a way to simplify the process. But many applicants feel that they still must take the exams. That's in part, they say, because the university has said that good scores can still help an applicant, while poor scores or no scores will not hurt an applicant. High school counselors say that this is a message that leaves many applicants feeling no choice but to take the tests, given how competitive University of California admissions are, and many assume that failing to get high scores will hurt their chances of admission.
Facing the prospect of protests from the Occupy Philadelphia movement, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Friday called off a planned talk at the University of Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Cantor said in a statement that he canceled after learning that Penn would allow members of the public to attend. He said that he had agreed to the talk on the belief that it would be restricted to those affiliated with Penn. But a statement from Penn said that the university always has opened such events to the general public, and that it never promised Cantor otherwise.
Israel's government on Sunday announced plans to add financial support for higher education. The Jerusalem Post reported that part of the plan will be to pay for one year of higher education costs for soldiers who have completed their required government service. The other part of the plan will be an increase in funding for higher education in small towns and communities.