Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, May 18, 2015 - 3:00am

An art professor at the Cooper Union who is a member of the Gulf Labor Coalition reported that he was denied entry to the United Arab Emirates upon arrival at the Dubai airport for “security” reasons on May 11. Walid Raad, who has spoken publicly about labor conditions in the Gulf, particularly as they pertain to the construction of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, is reportedly the third member of the labor coalition to be denied entry to the UAE this spring and the second professor (the first was Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, which has a campus in Abu Dhabi).

“A couple of weeks ago, the Guggenheim stated that its Abu Dhabi branch is ‘an opportunity for a dynamic cultural exchange and to chart a more inclusive and expansive view of art history,’” Raad said in a written statement. “I agree. But I’ve wondered for some time now whether travel bans and deportations will be the fate of artists, writers and others who actually engage in this dynamic cultural exchange.”

The UAE embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Monday, May 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Reverend Warren Hall, a priest and director of campus ministry at Seton Hall University, says he lost his job for a Facebook post backing the NO H8 campaign, which opposes homophobia and backs gay marriage, NJ.com reported. Father Hall posted about his firing on Twitter, but then removed the tweet. Seton Hall officials referred questions to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, which appoints the director of campus ministry. A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that priests are periodically reassigned. The article, however, noted that Father Hall has been in his position only one year while his predecessor had served five years.

Monday, May 18, 2015 - 3:00am

The director of Boston University's African Presidential Center has accused the university of having broad problems with racial discrimination, which he says is reflected in plans to close the center, which focuses on African studies, The Boston Globe reported. The university says that it is closing a number of centers that have failed to raise money, and that these centers are on a range of topics. But the director of the center denies having been given a fund-raising target.

Monday, May 18, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Abe Springer, a professor at Northern Arizona University, discusses his work on springs and their integral place in our environment. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 3:00am

Kennesaw State University said Thursday it is "reviewing the concerns" of a student who posted a video online showing an academic adviser threatening to call security on the student as he allegedly waited for assistance. The student also said via Twitter that the adviser canceled previous attempts to meet and was unhelpful when he tried asking her questions over email. The student, who is black, uploaded the video Wednesday night. By Thursday evening, the original tweet -- which was captioned "rude advisors at Kennesaw. [Shaking my head]" -- had been retweeted more than 6,000 times.

A Twitter hashtag, #ItsBiggerThanKSU, has prompted online discussions about racism on college campuses, but it has also lead to a deluge of more general complaints about poor academic advising. Several other Kennesaw State students have now come forward with similar complaints about the adviser shown in the video, posting images of email exchanges with her that they believe illustrate the adviser's contempt for the students she's meant to help.

"Kennesaw State officials take seriously all student concerns and are dedicated to promoting a positive academic advising experience," the university said in a statement. "Kennesaw State University officials are working with a student to review his concerns regarding the behavior of an academic adviser."

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 3:00am

About 30 percent of college marching band members surveyed in a new national study reported that they had observed hazing in their programs. Few of the students said they ever reported the behavior, however. “Despite all of our efforts, the message about hazing is still not getting out there,” Jason Silveira, an assistant professor of music education at Oregon State University and one of the study's authors, stated. “Band participants might say, 'it’s no big deal, it’s what we do.' It may not be a big deal to that person, but to someone else it may be.”

The researchers surveyed more than 1,200 students who participate in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I marching band programs in 30 states. The most common acts of hazing, the students said, involved public verbal humiliation or degradation. Students said they were hesitant to report the hazing, usually due to fear of "social retaliation."

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 3:00am

The National Council on Teacher Quality regularly issues reports on the state of teacher education programs, finding that many do not meet the group's standards for rigorous preparation. On Thursday, the University of North Carolina system released a study it did in collaboration with NCTQ that raises questions about the value of meeting the standards. In a series of comparisons of classroom teachers working in North Carolina who graduated from programs that NCTQ says adhere to its standards and those who graduated from other programs, teachers in the former group were more effective at improving students test scores in only 15 of 124 comparisons. In 5 comparisons, the graduates of NCTQ-approved programs were less effective. And in the vast majority of 104 comparisons, there was no difference.

The NCTQ issued an analysis of the study emphasizing other points than the large majority of comparisons that found no difference between the performance of teachers who graduated from programs that met the council's standards and those that did not. The council press release said that "graduates of teacher prep programs with higher NCTQ ratings are more effective on average than graduates of programs with lower ratings, no matter if the measure of effectiveness is student test scores or teacher evaluations." Further, the council noted, the researchers found that “NCTQ standards are grounded in available research and completely transparent.”

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 3:00am

Sydney Engelberg is a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem who teaches organizational management, and he allows students with babies to bring them to class. In a recent class, one such baby started crying, and the baby's mother started to leave the class with her child. Engelberg didn't want anyone to leave, so he held and calmed the baby without stopping his lecture. A photo of the professor posted to Facebook went viral on Thursday.


Friday, May 15, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Susan Schneider, a philosophy professor at the University of Connecticut, has some deeper theories about first contact. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 3:00am

Among those killed Tuesday when a New York City-bound Amtrak train derailed north of Philadelphia were a college dean, the CEO of an ed-tech start-up, and a sophomore.

Derrick Griffith, dean of student affairs and enrollment management for Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, was one of the victims. A CUNY statement noted that he had been involved in numerous efforts to help low-income students obtain higher education.

Rachel Jacobs, CEO of the Philadelphia-based ed-tech start-up ApprenNet, was also among the victims. Emily F. Williams, co-founder and chief operating officer, confirmed the news Wednesday evening. Jacobs, a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia Business School, became CEO of ApprenNet in March, according to Philadelphia magazine.

Also killed was Justin Zemser, a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy.


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