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Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 3:00am

An Iowa State University professor whose class on applying Biblical principles to business was canceled now says he disagrees with parts of a controversial textbook he planned to use. That book was among the reasons faculty members cited when protesting the course, saying it was inappropriately religious for a public university.

Professor Roger Stover, who declined to speak with Inside Higher Ed for the initial story, wrote Wednesday that his class was to be “a critical evaluation of a popular book’s prescriptions.” The text, Dave Anderson’s How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK: A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business, at one point advises Christians not to go into business with nonbelievers.

In a statement released to Inside Higher Ed Wednesday evening, Stover called that an “extreme recommendation." Stover added that “I professionally disagree with much of the book’s recommendation on borrowing money.”

The professor said he planned to focus his one-credit, independent study class on chapters like “Four Mandates to Maximize Your Time” and “How to Lead Through a Crisis.”

“This was a proposed business management class,” Stover wrote. “These are hardly theological issues – they are management issues.”

Stover’s course was called off after three Iowa State faculty members campaigned against it, saying it violated the separation of church and state. An award-winning finance professor, Stover has been on Iowa State’s faculty since 1979. He said suggestions that he designed the class to preach to students are unfounded.

“My intention was to have the students study academic management literature on the topics of the book and use that background to evaluate whether the author’s suggestions have any merit,” Stover wrote. “This form of inquiry is what business school faculty do all the time. Given the growth of interest in the role of spirituality in business management, our students may well be exposed to this in their career. I feel it is incumbent on us to prepare them for such exposure.”
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

A report released Tuesday by Law School Transparency, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that the majority of law schools do not provide data on whether their graduates are employed as lawyers or whether they find part-time work, among other categories. The report, which comes amid increasing questions about whether law school students are able to find jobs and pay off their debt -- and the value of a law degree -- found that 27 percent of law schools provide no employment data at all on outcomes for the class of 2010. Of schools that did provide such data, 26 percent indicated whether the jobs were legal jobs and 11 percent indicated whether those jobs were full time or part time. "Taken together, these and other findings illustrate how law schools have been slow to react to calls for disclosure, with some schools conjuring ways to repackage employment data to maintain their image," the report's authors wrote. But they also note some changes in recent years, including proposed changes to American Bar Association accreditation standards that would require more data disclosure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 4:41am

The Illinois attorney general is planning to sue Westwood College, a for-profit institution with four campuses in the Chicago area, saying that it has misled students about its criminal justice program in ways that have left the students facing serious debts without employment prospects, The Chicago Tribune reported. The suit will charge that Westwood is inappropriately recruiting students for the program for a law enforcement career when Illinois requires its police officers to be graduates of regionally accredited institutions. Westwood is nationally accredited so its graduates aren't eligible for the jobs. The suit will say that Westwood "made a variety of misrepresentations and false promises." The students who are enrolling are paying much more than they would have to for a degree that would qualify them for the jobs, the suit says. It notes that to complete a degree in criminal justice at Westwood costs $71,610 (with many students borrowing heavily to pay), compared with $12,672 from the College of DuPage, a nonprofit regionally accredited college.

A Westwood spokesman issued this statement: "We continue to cooperate with the Illinois [attorney general] to resolve any outstanding issues. We are proud of our legacy of helping students obtain their educational goals. We have hundreds of graduates working in the private and public criminal justice field throughout the state of Illinois."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis of the University of Arkansas reveals why musical silence is just as important to a composition as the notes themselves. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

 
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

Enrollment in professional science master's programs increased by 15.4 percent in 2011, according to data released today by the Council of Graduate Schools. The enrollments are highest in computational sciences, biology/biotechnology, environmental sciences and mathematics and statistics.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 4:44am

Ward Connerly, a national leader of the fight to end the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions, is being accused of mismanaging the group he created for this effort, The New York Times reported. The critic is Jennifer Gratz, who shares Connerly's views on affirmative action and was the named plaintiff in a suit challenging the consideration of race at the University of Michigan. After the suit, Gratz worked for Connerly. She is accusing him of misusing funds sent to advance his work, paying himself a large salary rather than devoting funds to his cause. Connerly called Gratz a "disgruntled former employee" trying to "besmirch me personally."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors last week sent a letter to the City University of New York chancellor and board chair, citing concerns about the “Pathways to Degree Completion Initiative,” a move by CUNY to enable smoother transfer for its community college students to CUNY's four-year institutions. The initiative was approved by CUNY’s Board of Trustees in June 2011. In the letter, the AAUP said that faculty members had complained about the new framework for the transfer of credits between CUNY’s 19 undergraduate colleges and the way these changes were adopted by “an administration-appointed Task Force and its associated committees,” bypassing elected faculty bodies. The faculty members have also complained about the soundness of the initiative itself and the consequences for academic freedom. (Some faculty members at community colleges have backed the changes, saying that they were necessary to help their students.)

Jay Hershenson, senior vice chancellor for university relations at CUNY, said the process had been a struggle, but that the initiative would raise quality and increase accountability. “CUNY’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the Pathways Initiative after extensive consultation, hearings, and meetings. Hundreds of faculty have participated in the curricula development process and CUNY’s elected student leadership hailed the reforms as long overdue,” he said.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 4:46am

The union trying to organize research assistants at the University of Michigan will hold a press conference today at which it will charge that a graduate student lost funding and was kicked out of her program for being involved in the union, The Detroit Free Press reported. The student will share an e-mail she received from a faculty member saying "I realize you have other things going on but an increased [sic] in your focus on research is urgently needed.... This will probably require you to decrease your involvement in non-research [activity]." Because the student says her only non-research activity was the union, the union says this was an inappropriate order to stop involvement in the union. A university spokesman denied the allegation, saying that "this is an academic matter. While we are precluded by law from discussing publicly a student's academic record, we believe certain of the union's factual claims are unfounded."

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The salaries of new head coaches at big-time college football programs increased by 35 percent in 2011, USA Today reported. The new average salary is $1.5 million a year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

Taiwanese universities are loosening the rules for admitting students from mainland China, China Daily reported. Applicants had been restricted to one potential major, but now can identify five potential majors. In addition, a previous age limit (40) has been lifted.

 

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