Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 28, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Sam Maglio, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto Scarborough, explains his research on the influence of the way names sound. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


July 25, 2014

The U.S. Army War College, responding to reports that Senator John Walsh plagiarized large portions of his master's thesis, announced a formal investigation on Thursday, The New York Times reported. “It’s clear there is indeed strong reason to believe this is plagiarism,” said Provost Lance Betros. Walsh has denied doing anything wrong and has suggested that any problems may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Two columns in The Washington Post explore issues raised by the incident. Sean M. Lynn-Jones, a research associate at the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, wrote about the experience of being plagiarized by Walsh. And Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, wrote about feeling unimpressed that the paper led to a master's degree (even aside from the plagiarism issues). The title of his piece: "On what academic planet does a 14 page paper merit John Walsh an M.A.?"

July 25, 2014

The director of the Ohio State University marching band, who helped the band become YouTube sensations last year with complex, iPad-enhanced halftime shows, was fired Thursday following allegations that he ignored a longstanding culture of sexual harassment and hazing within the band.

Jonathan Waters has been the band's director since 2012, but has served in other roles with the band for a decade. He was fired following a two-month investigation by the university's office of compliance.

"[The investigation] found, among other things, very serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment with the band, creating a hostile environment for students," Michael Drake, the university's president, said in a video statement. "I was profoundly disappointed to learn this. We can -- and according to our values and Title IX we must -- do better. Even one incident of harassment or hazing or assault is one too many."

The alleged behavior included an annual student-led practice where students marched in their underwear at midnight, a tradition of assigning sexually explicit nicknames to rookie band members, and a raunchy unofficial songbook. The Columbus Dispatch has the full report here.

Drake said Betty Montgomery, Ohio's former attorney general, will lead an independent task force further investigating the report.

July 25, 2014

Mark Landis, who until recently taught accounting at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco, has been charged with 15 counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy for allegedly filming current and former students, and others, using the bathroom in his home, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. A house guest found a camera, set up to film the genital region of males standing at a toilet. Landis reportedly invited students over every weekend. A San Francisco State spokeswoman said that Landis resigned last Friday. A University of San Francisco spokeswoman said that he had been an adjunct there, and that his contract had not been renewed. Landis did not respond to requests for comment.


July 25, 2014

"This Week," Inside Higher Ed's weekly audio program, this week features debate about whether Bill Gates is moderating his views on higher education and analysis of a cadre of colleges outsourcing their adjunct instruction to a company. The Lumina Foundation's Zakiya Smith and John Warner, author of the Just Visiting blog, weigh the significance of Gates's speech with Inside Higher Ed's Doug Lederman and the moderator Casey Green. And the University of Arizona's Gary Rhoades dissects the privatization move by Michigan community colleges and what it means for the adjunct movement.

Stream or download the program here.

Or Click here to receive a reminder when each week's "This Week @ Inside Higher Ed" podcast is available.

July 25, 2014

A U.S. Department of State database has been experiencing “significant performance issues, including outages" since last Saturday, resulting in delays for applicants for U.S. passports and visas, the Associated Press reported. A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said that the problem is global and is not specific to any one country or visa category. Harf said the department is working to correct the problem.

July 25, 2014

Technical University, in Munich, is planning to switch most master's degrees to English by 2020, The Local reported. Currently about one-third of such programs are in English. The university's president, Wolfgang Herrmann, said, "English is the lingua franca in academia and of the economy." But student leaders are skeptical of switching so many programs to English.


July 25, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Carlos Varela, an associate professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, asks why we aren't adding more intelligence to autopilot systems. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


July 24, 2014

Non-tenure-track faculty members at Antioch University’s Seattle campus voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, they announced Wednesday. The news came on the heels of decisive defeat of a proposed SEIU union at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis earlier this week. The official count at Antioch was 84 adjuncts in favor and 14 opposed.

Antioch is the third university to hold SEIU adjunct union elections in Washington State, after Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle University (both of which have challenged adjuncts’ right to form a union, based on the colleges’ religious identities). Antioch’s administration has not challenged the union bid there, but Chancellor Felice Nudelman has publicly expressed concern about how a union will affect the university’s ability to work as partners with the faculty.

Nudelman reiterated that sentiment in a statement Wednesday, saying “Antioch has and does operate in a socially and economically just manner without interposing a third party between it and its employees. It is our sincere hope that the university’s ability to solve problems creatively and collaboratively is not diminished by the formation of this union. To that end, we will now begin the process to meet and bargain in good faith with our union colleagues over the terms of a contract.”


July 24, 2014

A new California law will allow college students under the legal drinking age of 21 to drink alcohol in class as long as they are enrolled in a beer brewing or wine-making course, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Further, the students are permitted only to taste, not to swallow, and that has led to the legislation being called the "sip and spit" bill. Instructors who teach wine and other alcohol-related classes pushed for the measure, signed into law Monday, so that their students could have the full experience of learning about various beverages.



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