Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

Harvey Kesselman, the acting president of Stockton University, had been expected to leave shortly to become president of the University of Southern Maine. But on Wednesday, the two universities announced that Kesselman would stay on as interim president of Stockton, where the former president is on medical leave and the university is facing numerous challenges related to a failed plan to develop a campus at the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. Stockton board members said that they appealed to the board in Maine to release Kesselman from his contract so he could help the university he has served for many years navigate through various issues.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

Many experts on paying for college say it's essential to encourage families to start saving while their children are young. But Cuyahoga County, in Ohio, is moving to abandon a two-year-old program under which every kindergarten student received a $100 savings account, Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. Officials said too few families added to the accounts, so many felt the program wasn't working.

In San Francisco, where a similar program is based on a match of family contributions, CNN Money reported that low-income families have saved $1 million for college in the last four years.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 4:21am

The University of Kentucky has pledged to overhaul its body donation program, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Like most universities with medical schools, Kentucky uses donated bodies as teaching tools, and encourages such donations. The pledge for improvement followed a report in the Herald-Leader that some body remains were being left to sit for three to five years before burial. Currently 235 cremated remains have not been buried.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

A new report from the Pen American Center, “Censorship and Conscience: Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship,” includes a set of “core principles” for authors to consider when preparing to publish translations of their works in mainland China. For books that include sensitive content, the report recommends that authors should 1) “ensure that the contract with the Chinese publisher includes an agreement that any and all cuts or alterations made to the text must be approved in advance by the author,” 2) “negotiate with the publisher if any alterations to the text are proposed, to ensure that as much of the book’s original content is retained as possible” and 3) “engage an objective, expert third-party translator to vet the translated work -- particularly any sections dealing with sensitive topics known to be censored -- to ensure that no unauthorized alterations have been made.”

The report draws from interviews with foreign authors who did not discover censorship in Chinese translations of their works until after they were published, as well as interviews with foreign authors who have variously consented to and refused proposed changes in Chinese-language editions. The report recommends that authors resist censorship that “fundamentally alters the overall arguments expressed in the book” or that “fundamentally diminishes” the book's literary merit, or that deletes or distorts references to major historical, political or human rights topics such as the Tiananmen Square massacre. It also includes suggestions for authors who choose to accept censors' cuts or changes to their books to make the fact of those changes more visible to Chinese readers.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

LeTourneau University, a Christian university in Texas, has adopted an athletes' handbook that bars athletes from "same-sex dating behaviors and public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically defined marriage is morally acceptable." The handbook's language was revealed by the website Outsports. It is not known if there are any gay athletes at the university. A spokesperson said via email to Inside Higher Ed that "our policy has always reflected who we are as a private Christian university. That’s not new."

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

We're a little late this month with our monthly Cartoon Caption Contest.

You can play in multiple ways.

Submit a caption for this month's cartoon here.

Vote for your favorite here from among the three nominees chosen by the panel of judges for our March cartoon.

And the winner of our February caption contest wished to remain anonymous. But we will send the winner a gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon nonetheless.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Katharine Gelber, professor of politics and public policy at the University of Queensland, profiles free speech in the years following the terrorist attack. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 3:00am

Three professors and a graduate student at China’s Tianjin University are among six defendants charged with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets regarding wireless signaling technology, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday. The indictment alleges that trade secrets stolen from U.S.-based Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions -- both of which design and develop a technology known as FBAR that filters wireless signals -- enabled Tianjin University "to construct and equip a state-of-the-art FBAR fabrication facility, to open ROFS Microsystems, a joint venture located in PRC state-sponsored Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), and to obtain contracts for providing FBARs to commercial and military entities.”

Hao Zhang, a full professor at Tianjin and a Chinese citizen, was arrested on May 16 upon entry to the U.S. and is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage, and theft of trade secrets. The five other indicted defendants include two former classmates of Zhang’s in a graduate electrical engineering program at the University of Southern California.

Zhang's defense attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 4:23am

A new study has found that 18.6 percent of women at a university in upstate New York who started there in 2010 experienced either rape or attempted rape in their freshman year. The study has just been published in The Journal of Adolescent Health. Numerous studies on campus sexual assault -- with varying definitions of sexual assault -- have prompted much debate over how prevalent rape and sexual assault are on campus. This study used a narrow definition of rape as “vaginal, oral or anal penetration using threats of violence or use of physical force, or using the tactic of victim incapacitation.” Critics of some other studies have cited broader definitions -- including unwanted advances or verbal abuse -- as inappropriately conflating different kinds of sexual misconduct.

Over the year in which students were surveyed, 9 percent of surveyed women reported an attempted or completed forcible rape and 15.4 percent reported an attempted or completed rape while incapacitated. (Some women reported more than one kind of rape.)

Kate Carey, professor of behavioral and social sciences in the Brown University School of Public Health and Brown's Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, and one of the authors, said the research pointed to the need to focus on freshman year. “People are usually moving away from home for the first time, they are experimenting with a lot of freedoms including the use of alcohol and other drugs and learning how to live by themselves,” she said. “We have a better sense after our research of what are the risks within that first transition year.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 3:00am

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a women's college in Indiana, announced Tuesday that it will start to admit men. Applicants to be commuter students may apply to enroll in the fall, and applicants to be residential students may seek to enroll in fall 2016. The college cited the dwindling numbers of female students who will seek out a women's college. Undergraduate enrollment at the college is about 1,000, with more than two-thirds of that in the form of online enrollments.

On the college's Facebook page, many alumnae said they understood the pressures facing the college, but were still devastated by the news. Wrote one alumna: "Heartbroken. I can understand why some feel this is the only way to go, and yes, it is better than closing the college, but it goes against everything the college stands for and is. Things change and people adapt, but so many key things that make the Woods the Woods will be lost forever."

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