Higher Education Quick Takes
Southern Utah University is investigating allegations that some instructors in its English programs for international students have been ignoring widespread plagiarism, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. One instructor quit in protest over her sense that officials were unwilling to deal with the problem, and one instructor is on probation pending an investigation. The instructor who quit estimated that one-fifth of the assignments she graded included questionable material. The instructor said that there was little discipline of students she found engaged in plagiarism. She discovered some of the plagiarism when she noticed certain unusual phrases that she found turn up when passages are converted from Arabic to English through Google Translate.
British authorities have granted the for-profit College of Law university status, and the soon-to-be renamed University of Law will be the country's first for-profit university, Times Higher Education reported. The institution trains 7,000 students annually in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
Under court order, the University of Colorado has ended a ban on guns on campus and has even made it possible for students who are registered gun-owners to keep their weapons in their residence halls. At the Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses, the university said that it would create residential spaces for students with guns. But The Denver Post reported that although this option was announced in August, not a single student has asked to live where guns are permitted.
When Canada started a new program to support endowed chairs at its research universities in 2010, and no women were selected, many academics were alarmed. The government responded by commissioning a study by the Council of Canadian Academies, which issued a report last week on the state of women in the country's universities. The report found continued underrepresentation in the highest ranks of research universities, and "no single solution" to the disparities. Generally, the study found similarities between the proportion and challenges of women in Canadian research universities and those of other economically advanced nations.
Governor Chris Gregoire, who is finishing her time leading Washington State, has appointed her daughter to the board of the Seattle Community Colleges, The Seattle Times reported. The appointment was made October 29, but was not announced until Tuesday. A spokesman for the governor said that Courtney Gregoire, a lawyer for Microsoft who has worked as a legislative director in the U.S. Senate and deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Commerce, has "more than ample experience to serve on this community college board."
Florida officials have agreed to declare Florida Christian College's students eligible for a state student aid program, settling a lawsuit by the college, The News Service of Florida reported. The college "requires a Bible emphasis of all who earn a degree," and Florida officials had declared it too sectarian for its students to qualify for state aid. But the college argued that its programs have secular educational purposes, and that the state was discriminating against the college on the basis of its religious beliefs.
The Kansas City Art Institute is suing Larry and Kristina Dodge, for whom the art college named a building, because they haven't made good on a $5 million pledge to pay for the project, The Kansas City Star reported. The institute says that it has a valid legal agreement with the Dodges, and that it made the decision to go ahead with the building based on that pact. The Dodges say that they are struggling financially in the wake of the economic downturn and can't afford to give the money. Kristina Dodge told the Star that the art institute is "completely ruthless and heartless."
A Texas jury last week ordered H. Scott Norville, the head of Texas Tech University's civil and environmental engineering department, to pay $590,000 for defaming and physically assaulting a former faculty member, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported. Norville declined to comment on the finding. R. Scott Phelan, the former faculty member, had received positive reviews from the department and had been winning outside grants. But he charged that he was denied tenure in retaliation for reporting to the university that he believed Norville was using university time and equipment for a consulting business -- charges Norville disputed.
Football coaches' salaries continue to increase, even as raises for most of those who work in higher education remain modest, according to a new analysis from USA Today. The average salary for head coaches at major college football programs is $1.64 million, up nearly 12 percent in a year. Further, the newspaper found this shift: while six years ago, 42 coaches earned at least $1 million, this year 42 coaches earned at least $2 million.