Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3:00am

Latino students are likelier than students from other racial groups to be deterred from enrolling in graduate school because of debt, says a report from the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education. The report argues that reducing undergraduate debt is essential to increasing the number of Latino students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The Middle East Studies Association on Thursday released a letter it sent to The New York Times, criticizing the newspaper for refusing to run a letter to the editor by 151 faculty members objecting to an ad that the newspaper did run. The ad -- by the David Horowitz Freedom Center -- identified 14 "professors of hate" who the center said advocate a boycott of Israel. The ad called for these professors to be "publicly shamed" and urged alumni and students to contact the presidents of the professors' universities. The opening of the ad noted that boycotts of Jewish stores were an early tactic of the Nazis. In response to the ad, 151 professors wrote a letter to the editor of the Times, arguing that the ad unfairly linked their criticism of Israel to the Nazis, distorting their views.

Eileen M. Murphy, vice president of corporate communications at the Times, told Inside Higher Ed via e-mail that the letter was rejected based on policy. "The decision not to run this particular letter to the editor was based on the fact that our letters space is reserved for comment about our journalism, both news and opinion, not about paid advertisements," she said.

The Middle East Studies Association's letter questions that logic. "With this decision, the Times has failed in its duty to act in the public interest by fostering the open and vigorous exchange of ideas and opinions and by giving those who have been subjected to defamation by means of a paid advertisement a reasonable opportunity to respond," the letter said. "We call on The New York Times to offer the scholars and teachers who have been personally attacked, and those who support them, the opportunity to respond to the vicious allegations made against them by an organization which, unlike those of us in the academic world, seems to possess both the desire and the means to engage in character assassination in the pages of The New York Times."

A spokesman for the Horowitz Center said that the group had not yet responded to the Middle East Studies Association letter.

Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Cay Anderson-Hanley of Union College explores the benefits of adding a cognitive element to your exercise routine. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 4:16am

People with higher degree attainment and their families have healthier lives, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the findings:

  • In 2007-2010 in households where the head of household had less than a high school education, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese. In households where the head had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11 percent for males aged 2-19 years and 7 percent for females were obese.
  • In 2007-2010, women 25 years of age and over with less than a bachelor’s degree were more likely to be obese (39 percent - 43 percent) than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (25 percent).
  • In 2010, 31 percent of adults 25-64 years of age with a high school diploma or less education were smokers, compared with 24 percent of adults with some college and 9 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Between 1996-2006, the gap in life expectancy at age 25 between those with less than a high school education and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 1.9 years for men and 2.8 years for women.  On average in 2006, 25-year-old men without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 9.3 years less than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

 

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 4:18am

Cuba's universities have cut enrollment by nearly 26 percent, The Miami Herald reported. The cuts are largely motivated by the country's need to cut spending. The programs seeing the largest cuts are in the social sciences.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Just three months after Susan Hockfield announced her plans to retire as president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT's board said Tuesday that it had hired Provost L. Rafael Reif to succeed her. The remarkably quick (for major research universities) succession came about not for a lack of candidates -- MIT considered more than 100, said its board chairman, John S. Reed -- but because Reif emerged so clearly as a "uniquely qualified candidate," Reed said. Reif was centrally involved in many of the institute's most innovative efforts in his seven years as provost, including the creation of MITx and its recent expansion, with Harvard University, into EdX. “I cannot tell you that this is a dream come true,” Reif told reporters after his selection, “because this is a dream I never dared to imagine.”
 

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Stan Kuczaj of the University of Southern Mississippi explains the relationship between Hurricane Katrina and the dolphin population along the Gulf Coast. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 3:00am

College athletes in contact sports such as football and ice hockey were more likely than peers in non-contact sports to perform worse than expected on tests measuring the ability to absorb new learning, according to a study published this week in the journal Neurology. The study, by Thomas McAllister of Dartmouth College's medical school, did not find differences in test results between the two groups of athletes at the beginning of the season, suggesting that head impacts from previous seasons did not appear to diminish thinking and memory skills in contact-sport athletes.

But where just 4 percent of the athletes in non-contact sports (such as crew, track, and skiing) performed worse than expected on the test of new learning after their playing season, 22 percent of contact-sport athletes did. (Players who had suffered concussions were excluded from the study.) Concerns about cognitive impairment due to head impacts has been escalating, most notably in football and most intensely at the professional and high school levels.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 3:00am
  • Tracy W. Barlok, associate vice president for advancement at Skidmore College, in New York, has been selected as vice president for development and alumni relations at College of the Holy Cross, in Massachusetts.
  • David Markwardt, assistant professor of zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University, has been promoted to associate professor of zoology there.
  • John J. McCarthy, distinguished professor and special assistant to the provost at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has been promoted to vice provost for graduate education and graduate school dean there.
  • Jeremy Ryan, director of development at Anthem Worldwide, has been named vice president of digital services at Lipman Hearne.
  • Robert A. Schapiro, interim dean and professor of law at Emory University School of Law, in Georgia, has been appointed as Dean and Asa Griggs Candler professor there.
  • Mary Todd, founding dean of the honors college at Marshall University, in West Virginia, has been chosen as executive director of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, in Louisiana.
  • Ed Weis, dean of the business division at Molloy College, in New York, has been named dean of the School of Business at Mercy College, also in New York.

The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes and promotions, please click here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 3:00am

The Russian government is planning to launch a new program in which it will pay for 2,000 students a year to start degree programs in science, business and the social sciences abroad, but the students must pledge to return to Russia after graduation, Nature reported. The students can pick their university abroad, but it must be one of those ranked by Times Higher Education.

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