Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 26, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Amy Smith of the University of the Pacific probes the international appeal of the characters that populate the work of Jane Austen. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 25, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Tony Gamble of the University of Minnesota explains the mechanics of gecko feet and traces the evolutionary origins of the little lizard’s extraordinary climbing ability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

October 25, 2012

Students at the University of Miami have organized a petition and protests over the firing of Betty Asbury from her job as a cashier at a cafeteria, Miami New Times reported. Asbury was reportedly dismissed for letting a man leave the cafeteria without paying, but students and Asbury say that the man used a bathroom, but didn't actually consume anything that needed to be purchased. Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, which manages food service at Miami, said it was reviewing the case.

October 25, 2012

An audit of the athletic department of the University of Missouri at Columbia has found $7,600 in charges to a Las Vegas strip club, The Kansas City Star reported. In one case, the bill was $4,400 but the university official who made the charges -- Michael Schumacher, the director of video operations -- added on a $2,000 tip. Missouri officials said that Schumacher repaid the money, and regrets the incident, and that he faced disciplinary action.

 

October 25, 2012

Settling a dispute between federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided Wednesday that it would provide $83 million in funds to help the University of Iowa rebuild three flood-damaged facilities on new sites, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had recommended the funds, but the Homeland Security agency's inspector general challenged the award in July, saying the buildings should have been repaired rather than rebuilt. But Homeland Security officials sided with FEMA on Wednesday. The Iowa campus was devastated by massive floods in 2008, and university officials have been counting on the federal funds as they have worked to rebuild the campus.

October 24, 2012

At the University of Kentucky, employee contributions of 5 percent of salary to their retirement funds are matched by a 10 percent institutional contribution. For administrators, however, 15 percent of salary is provided by the university straight to the retirement fund. Faculty members, who have been sparring with the administration over budget cuts, suggested that the university eliminate the special benefit for administrators, but the university has declined, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The university did agree not to offer the benefit to any more administrators, but said it would be unfair to take it away from those already receiving the extra contributions to their retirement funds.

 

October 24, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, George Nash of the University of Bristol recounts his discovery of what could be the United Kingdom’s oldest example of cave art. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 24, 2012

One year after college graduation, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers, according to a report from the American Association of University Women. The gap is evident even when comparing women and men who work in the same field, and had the same college majors. The report also found that found that 20 percent of women working full time one year after graduation must spend more than 15 percent of earnings on paying back student loans.

October 24, 2012

A state judge on Tuesday issued a tentative ruling ordering the University of California System to obtain and release data on the performance of specific venture funds in which it has investments, Reuters reported. The university has maintained that the information isn't covered by open records laws because it receives investment performance in aggregate, not fund by fund. But the judge ruled that the university must make a "good faith" effort to obtain the information, and then to release it.

 

October 24, 2012

A former employee at Thomas Jefferson School of Law alleges she falsified data on graduate employment at the request of the school’s administration, according to court documents published by Law School Transparency. In a sworn statement filed as part of a lawsuit against the school for supposedly misrepresenting its job placement rates, former career services assistant director Karen Grant says she was told to record students as “employed” if they had held a job at any point after graduating; American Bar Association and standards hold that graduates can only be counted as “employed” if they have a job as of Feb. 15 following graduation.

Thomas Jefferson Dean Rudy Hasl maintains that there is no truth to Grant’s claims, and says the school will present a “vigorous denial of the allegations” to the court. He notes that Grant worked at the school for less than a year, and suggested that her departure was not voluntary, and thus “she may have other reasons for making these assertions.” Thomas Jefferson will present its case at a hearing Nov. 9 in response to a motion filed by the plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking sanctions against Thomas Jefferson for allegedly destroying and concealing evidence.

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