Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 23, 2010

Overly free usage of someone else's words has ended another college presidency. Malone University, an independent institution in Canton, Ohio, announced Monday that its president, Gary Streit, had retired "in response to recent concerns about the use of unattributed materials in some of his speeches." The university's statement said that the president's decision to retire "has demonstrated to the students and public that the university's academic integrity standards apply equally to all members of the Malone community." Local news reports indicated that the review began after students noticed similarities between a January 13 address the president gave and various publications on the Internet. A spokeswoman said that the university would cease its investigation upon Streit's retirement.

February 23, 2010

A prisoner in Wisconsin described as a "lifelong con man" ran an alleged diploma mills behind bars, directing associates to manage a Web site for his unrecognized university, the Associated Press reported. Authorities at the prison discovered the situation in 2008, but the Web site was removed only recently, after the AP interviewed the Web designer involved.

February 23, 2010

The murder of an undergraduate has unsettled Manhattanville College. LoHud.com reported that the student, an athlete and the daughter of a college maintenance worker, was found dead in staff housing Monday. Her mother was found unconscious. Authorities are investigating.

February 23, 2010

A local sheriff unhappy about having been used as an example of a double dipping employee charged into a classroom at Mercer County Community College and forced the offending professor to apologize, the Times of Trenton reported. Its account, and that of The College Voice, Mercer's student newspaper, said that Sheriff Kevin C. Larkin had been told via a student's text message that Michael Glass, a political science professor, had cited the fact that Larkin receives a police pension on top of his current salary as sheriff as evidence of the double dipping that contributes to New Jersey's $2 billion budget gap. (The class discussion reportedly also discussed the fact that Larkin was divorced and had hefty alimony payments.) Larkin reportedly tried to call Glass and, unable to reach him, came to the campus, where he reportedly spoke to him for several minutes in the hallway outside his classroom, before Glass returned and, with the sheriff by his side, apologized for "making disparaging comments" about him. The college's president, Patricia C. Donohue, issued a statement saying that "we do not think it is appropriate for any visitor to interrupt a class" and that "we plan to follow up with the individual about what our visitor policy is." Robin Schore, dean of Mercer's liberal arts division, was more forceful, telling the student newspaper that such an incident "has a chilling effect on free speech.... The idea of having a police presence challenging a professor and taking him out of class is something seen in a police state. It's outrageous."

February 23, 2010

With good jobs for new M.B.A. graduates in short supply and business schools anxious about their soon-to-be graduates' employment practices, business schools are getting creative about reaching corporate recruiters, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some are arranging for video interviews to deal with corporate recruiters who are reluctant to travel. Others are flying students to visit corporate offices, rather than waiting for companies to come to campus.

February 23, 2010

A panel charged with recommending ways for financially troubled Brandeis University to save money has proposed the elimination or shrinkage of numerous academic programs -- with associated reductions in faculty slots, although some courses in these subjects would continue to be taught. Among the proposed cuts likely to be controversial, given that Brandeis describes itself as a nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university, are the major in Hebrew language and literature and the minor in Yiddish and East European Jewish culture. Other proposed changes include the elimination of the anthropology doctorate program, cuts in the number of university-supported doctoral students in chemistry and computer science, and cuts in the theater design program and the theater company. Several independent science departments would also be merged.

February 23, 2010

Seven years after the University of Mississippi abandoned the use of Colonel Reb as its mascot, the university is considering restoring some (other) mascot, and once again is debating questions of race and symbolism, the Associated Press reported. The old mascot was seen as a symbol of the slave-owning Old South. Now some loyalists are advocating for the old mascot while others just want some mascot. Today, students will vote only on the question of whether some mascot should be selected -- or whether the university should remain without one.

February 23, 2010

Berea College -- known for its strong academic programs for which students pay no tuition, but hold campus jobs -- has been having a debate about its finances and values. The board is getting ready to approve a call for larger enrollments and some modifications in academic and work programs, in light of the impact of endowment losses on the heavily endowment-dependent institution. But as The Lexington Herald-Leader reported, much of the discussion on campus has been dominated by a student proposal that top administrators' salaries not exceed six times the salaries of the lowest paid workers -- an idea that administrators have rejected, saying it would limit the ability to attract top talent.

February 23, 2010
  • Crisis Leadership in Higher Education, Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, March 1-4, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 92nd Annual Meeting, American Council on Education, March 6-9, Phoenix.
  • National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, March 7-9, Washington.
  • Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention, National Council of Teachers of English, March 17-20, Louisville, Ky.
  • National Meeting & Exhibition, American Chemical Society, March 21-25, San Francisco.
  • These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.

    To submit a listing, click here.

    February 22, 2010

    Black students at the University of California at San Diego declared a "racial state of emergency" on Friday following a second racial incident in a week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. In the first incident, some students held a party mocking Black History Month. Then a student group broadcast a live segment on a closed circuit television network for the university, supporting the party and using a derogatory term for black people. At a meeting with university leaders, black students won pledges to provide more money for ethnic studies programs. On other student demands -- such as adding a "diversity sensitivity requirement" for undergraduates -- the students were told that administrators would study the ideas.

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