Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Pay and benefits for those who lead British universities increased more than 10 percent last year, according to an analysis for Times Higher Education. The raises and substantial compensation packages are being discussed as the universities are facing deep cuts in their budgets.

Friday, April 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Loyola Law School in Los Angles has raised the grade of every student -- retroactively -- by one level (with every B turning into a B+ and so forth). A memo from the dean ran this week in the blog Above the Law. In the memo, the dean argued that potential employers look at grades and that other law schools are already easier about grades than is Loyola. While the change may go over well with students, the blog and its readers are rather skeptical. The blog asked: "Well, why stop there? Let’s give even more accolades to Loyola law students for exactly the same work they did before. How about everybody who shows up for every class session gets bumped up a full letter grade? Let’s give everybody who gets a C an opportunity to turn that into a B if they pitch in with janitorial duty on the weekends. Why not give high performers a “double” A+; an A+ with a bright, shiny, happy star — just so that employers all know that these kids are the super-most-awesome kids in the bunch!"

Friday, April 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The student government at Queen's University, in Canada, has announced that it will no longer use sumo costumes in fund raisers because the outfits are racist, The National Post reported. According to a statement from the student government, the costumes "appropriate an aspect of Japanese culture," turn a racial identity into a "costume," and "devalue an ancient and respected Japanese sport, which is rich in history and cultural tradition." The costumes were also faulted for failing "to capture the deeply embedded histories of violent and subversive oppression that a group has faced." The costumers are owned by the athletics division at Queens, which has used them at halftime events. Mike Grobe, athletics spokesman for Queen's Athletics, said he had never heard concerns before. ""They're just big puffy suits. They're pink... No one's complained."

Friday, April 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The State University of New York at Binghamton says that Sally Dear, the adjunct who was an early whistle blower in what became a major scandal over the basketball team, will have a job next semester, The Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. Initially, it looked like Dear wouldn't have a job this semester -- a situation that Binghamton blamed on tight budgets but that seemed suspicious to those watching the basketball scandal grow. Amid publicity about the situation, she was hired back. The newspaper in Binghamton went back to Dear, who said that she hadn't yet been offered sections for next semester. But university officials assured the newspaper that she would be employed.

Friday, April 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Communications scholars are unaware of their ability to have fair use right to copyrighted works, and as a result are leaving out key materials from publications, according to a report issued Thursday by the Center for Social Media, at American University. Among the findings of a survey of members of the International Communication Association: "Nearly half the respondents express a lack of confidence about their copyright knowledge in relation to their research. Nearly a third avoided research subjects or questions and a full fifth abandoned research already under way because of copyright concerns. In addition, many ICA members have faced resistance from publishers, editors, and university administrators when seeking to include copyrighted works in their research."

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is kicking off a series of regional meetings today to discuss the future of the public research university. The meetings will include university presidents and other experts who will review trends in state and federal support, the growing gaps financially between public and private research universities, and ideas for preserving the quality of the institutions. Today's meeting is at the University of Texas at Austin. The rest of the meetings, also in April, will be at the Universities of Georgia, Washington, and Wisconsin at Madison, and at Rutgers University.

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Longy School of Music, a conservatory with undergraduate and graduate programs in Cambridge, Mass., may merge with Bard College, The Boston Globe reported. The school has come through a difficult financial period, in which some instructors saw their jobs eliminated and the faculty voted to unionize, and is now looking for a partner rather than remaining a free-standing institution.

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Duke University and Mike Pressler, who was the lacrosse coach when false rape accusations were made against three team members, have settled a slander suit by Pressler, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Pressler's suit focused on comparisons the university made between him and his successor after he was forced out in 2006, amid the scandal over the allegations that (at that time) were widely treated as fact. No details were released about the settlement, except that Duke issued this statement: "Coach Michael Pressler is an excellent coach. He did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program, while maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate in his 16 years. Duke University regrets any adverse consequences that the Newsday or AP article had on Coach Pressler or his family. Duke wishes nothing but the best for Coach Pressler in his future endeavors, especially at Bryant University and as he leads Team USA in the World Lacrosse Championships."

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:00am

If you notice more Franklin & Marshall clothing in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, it doesn't reflect a booming alumni base from the Pennsylvania liberal arts college. Rather, the Associated Press reported, the clothing is produced by an Italian company whose sales are growing, and are based on the same tastes that sell Abercrombie & Fitch attire. The college signed a licensing deal with the company in 2003 for products distributed in the United States, but the college doesn't control the rights abroad. Still, the company recently donated $135,000 to the college for a scholarship.

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Some of the news in the student press this April Fool's Day:

  • The Diamondback at the University of Maryland at College Park is reporting that as one of his last initiatives before stepping down as president, Dan Mote is trying to have the institution's mascot changed from the terrapin to the panda.
  • Student Life, of Washington University in St. Louis, satirizes the boom in applications for Teach for America (ever popular with students worried about the job market) by suggsting that the career center is now urging students to consider joining Strip for America. The founder of that organization is quoted as saying: "A lot of people have this misperception that there are good strippers across the country, but that’s just not true. Some people today are really put at a major disadvantage; they live in communities with little or no funding for quality strip joints.”
  • Washington Square News has some fun with New York University's growth agenda by suggesting that the university has purchasd Columbia University.
  • The GW Hatchett focuses on the alleged Twitter account of George Washington University's president. Steven Knapp.

While most of the April Fool's Day news comes from student journalists, those comedians at Johns Hopkins University have announced on their home page that they are changing their name to John Hopkins University (dropping the S from Johns), since so many people do so anyway. President Ronald J. Daniel is quoted as saying: "We're fighting a losing battle here. And we strongly suspect the extra 's' was a typo in the first place."

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