Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Tony Gamble of the University of Minnesota explains the mechanics of gecko feet and traces the evolutionary origins of the little lizard’s extraordinary climbing ability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 3:00am

A former employee at Thomas Jefferson School of Law alleges she falsified data on graduate employment at the request of the school’s administration, according to court documents published by Law School Transparency. In a sworn statement filed as part of a lawsuit against the school for supposedly misrepresenting its job placement rates, former career services assistant director Karen Grant says she was told to record students as “employed” if they had held a job at any point after graduating; American Bar Association and standards hold that graduates can only be counted as “employed” if they have a job as of Feb. 15 following graduation.

Thomas Jefferson Dean Rudy Hasl maintains that there is no truth to Grant’s claims, and says the school will present a “vigorous denial of the allegations” to the court. He notes that Grant worked at the school for less than a year, and suggested that her departure was not voluntary, and thus “she may have other reasons for making these assertions.” Thomas Jefferson will present its case at a hearing Nov. 9 in response to a motion filed by the plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking sanctions against Thomas Jefferson for allegedly destroying and concealing evidence.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The number of first-year students at the nation's 141 medical schools rose by 1.5 percent this fall, about half the size of the increase from fall 2010 to fall 2011, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported Tuesday. The number of applicants to allopathic medical schools grew by 3.1 percent, to 45,266, while the number of first-time applicants increased by 3.4 percent. Of the 19,517 new students enrolled this fall, 4 percent (771 students) are at the 11 new medical schools that admitted their inaugural class between 2007 and 2012. Medical educators have been pushing for increases in enrollments, citing projected physician shortages in the years ahead, especially in general medical fields.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Potomac College will reimburse students for courses they take from StraighterLine, an online provider that offers 42 entry-level courses, according to a StraighterLine announcement. The for-profit college will pay students for the $999 fee for up to 10 StraighterLine courses, the equivalent of a full year of college, after students transfer the courses to Potomac and then successfully complete a semester there. StraighterLine's courses are not credit-bearing, but come with a credit recommendation from the American Council on Education.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 3:00am

At the University of Kentucky, employee contributions of 5 percent of salary to their retirement funds are matched by a 10 percent institutional contribution. For administrators, however, 15 percent of salary is provided by the university straight to the retirement fund. Faculty members, who have been sparring with the administration over budget cuts, suggested that the university eliminate the special benefit for administrators, but the university has declined, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The university did agree not to offer the benefit to any more administrators, but said it would be unfair to take it away from those already receiving the extra contributions to their retirement funds.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 4:18am

One year after college graduation, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers, according to a report from the American Association of University Women. The gap is evident even when comparing women and men who work in the same field, and had the same college majors. The report also found that found that 20 percent of women working full time one year after graduation must spend more than 15 percent of earnings on paying back student loans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, George Nash of the University of Bristol recounts his discovery of what could be the United Kingdom’s oldest example of cave art. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 4:20am

A state judge on Tuesday issued a tentative ruling ordering the University of California System to obtain and release data on the performance of specific venture funds in which it has investments, Reuters reported. The university has maintained that the information isn't covered by open records laws because it receives investment performance in aggregate, not fund by fund. But the judge ruled that the university must make a "good faith" effort to obtain the information, and then to release it.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 3:00am

A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by Hebrew University of Jerusalem against GM for the auto company's use of an Albert Einstein image pasted onto a muscled physique, The Detroit News reported. Hebrew University said that Einstein's will gave it rights to the use of his image. In this case GM used the image in an ad that ran in People magazine with the tag line "Ideas are sexy too." Judge Howard Matz ruled that GM was within its rights. "[Einstein] did become the symbol and embodiment of genius. His persona has become thoroughly ingrained in our cultural heritage. Now, nearly 60 years after his death, that persona should be freely available to those who seek to appropriate it as part of their own expression, even in tasteless ads," he ruled.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Fifteen British universities have joined other science and charitable organizations in pledging to be more open about the use of animals in research and to promote public discussion of the ethical issues involved, Times Higher Education reported. The pledge follows concern by some scientists and others that support in Britain is dropping for the use of animals in research.


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