Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 27, 2010

India's Bangalore University has decided to reserve one slot in each of 52 academic departments for transgendered students, The Hindu reported. Indian universities operate under quota systems for admitting students from various groups that have suffered discrimination.

July 27, 2010

Faculty members at the Art Institute of Seattle have voted down a proposed union, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. Faculty members behind the union drive at the institute had sought to organize with the American Federation of Teachers, and the effort was a rare one in for-profit higher education, where adjunct positions dominate. Some faculty members behind the union said that the art institute had used "union busting" tactics to scare faculty members. Others said that the art institute had improved working conditions after the union drive went public. For example, they said class sizes were reduced substantially.

July 27, 2010

The U.S. Copyright Office on Monday promulgated a number of new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, including one allowing university staffers and students to hack DVD content and display it for educational purposes. If a university or student lawfully obtains copy of a DVD, the agency says, they can bypass the encryption so long as "circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for... Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students." The exemption applies when professors or students want to use excerpts of the hacked DVD in documentary films or "non-commercial videos." Tracy Mitrano, director of I.T. policy at Cornell University and a technology law blogger for Inside Higher Ed, called the decision "very big news," and "good news," for higher education, noting that advocates in academe have been lobbying for an expansion of fair use exemptions for some time. One campus that might take heart is the University of California at Los Angeles, which an educational media group threatened to sue last spring for copying and streaming DVD content on course websites. The university had refused to stop the practice, and a UCLA spokesman said the group, the Association for Information and Media Equipment, has not followed through. He said UCLA is reviewing the new rules.

July 26, 2010

Trinity College, in Connecticut, is celebrating a significant increase in its alumni giving rate, encouraged by an anonymous donor. The Hartford Courant reported that the donor offered $5 million a year ago -- but only if the giving rate among living alumni hit at least 55 percent. The rate was 47 percent in 2008-9. Following a year of intense organizing, Trinity's rate is now just over 55 percent.

July 26, 2010

The University of Provence Aix-Marseille has called off a conference on Mediterranean literature after some participants said that they wouldn't interact with an Israeli author scheduled to appear, Haaretz and the Associated Press reported. The university's president, Jean-Paul Caverni, said that the institution would not "hold a conference with those who excluded dialogue."

July 26, 2010

British officials have decided to let BPP, a for-profit institution affiliated with the Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, call itself a "university college," a closely controlled and significant term in Britain, Financial Times reported. The new status will also see the British branch, which has focused on business programs, move into many other academic areas. David Willetts, universities and science minister, said that "what matters is the quality of the teaching experience, not the exact legal status of the institution."

July 26, 2010

Rutgers University has declined a request from Gov. Chris Christie that the institution start growing medical marijuana under the provisions of a new state law, NewJersey.com reported. The law allows for the designation of several nonprofit groups to grow the pot, but the governor had hoped to centralize the operation at Rutgers. University officials said that they feared the impact of growing marijuana -- even at the request of the state -- on the institution's ability to obtain federal research grants.

July 26, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin last week unveiled a new bottled water - H2Orange -- in bottles shaped like the university's main tower -- as a way to raise money for scholarships. But on Friday, protesters held a rally to criticize the use of plastic instead of refillable aluminum bottles, News 8 reported. University officials said that the plastic being used can be recycled and that there are plans for reusable bottles in the future.

July 26, 2010

Centenary College, in New Jersey, is closing business programs it operates in Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan after finding rampant cheating among students there, The Star-Ledger reported. The college is also withholding degrees from 400 students at the programs -- giving them the choice of taking an exam to qualify for their degrees or receiving tuition refunds.

July 26, 2010

Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Friday called for the elimination of the central office of the Connecticut State University system. Governor Rell's statement followed earlier suggestions she made -- thus far rejected by the system's board -- to rescind raises of more than 8 percent for the system chancellor and presidents. University officials have defended the raises as "equity" measures needed to keep the system competitive. The governor's statement said: "Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why, in these difficult times, the trustees would approve salary increases of as much as 8 percent, 10 percent or 10.27 percent for people who are paid between $285,000 and $360,000 a year."

Pages

Back to Top