Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 2, 2013

André Schiffrin, whose work at Pantheon Books of Random House and at the New Press was influential in promoting the work of many intellectuals, died Sunday at the age of 78, The New York Times reported. The cause was pancreatic cancer. Among the writers whose work Schiffin championed, the Times cited Jean-Paul Sartre, Günter Grass, Studs Terkel, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Noam Chomsky, Julio Cortázar, Marguerite Duras, Roy Medvedev, Gunnar Myrdal, George Kennan, Anita Brookner, and R. D. Laing.

December 2, 2013

Authorities are investigating how and why an assistant professor of English, Sam See, died last Sunday in a New Haven jail. He had been arrested hours earlier in a domestic dispute involving his husband and protective orders that he and his husband had out on one another. The New Haven Register reported that See was well-regarded by students and scholars, and that many are mourning the death of the 34-year-old academic. But the Register also reported that photographs and phone numbers that match See's can be found on four websites for escorts, and that this news surprised Yale colleagues.

 

 

November 27, 2013

Jessica Witt, a professor of psychological sciences at Colorado State University, is objecting to the way Ohio Senator Rob Portman characterized her work, The Plain Dealer reported. Portman, a Republican, featured her research (while she was at Purdue University) in his monthly news release called "Dollars Down the Drain" in which he questions federal spending. Witt received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and her work was promoted by Purdue as a way to help a golfer visualize the size of a golf hole, and thus improve his or her putting. And that description was what Portman wrote about.

But Witt said that the putting material was intended to help the public understand the work -- and isn't really what the research is about. Her work is about how visualization relates to the motor system, and could have implications for helping older people or injured veterans who have mobility issues.

November 27, 2013

California is falling behind in its ability to provide higher education to its state's citizens, particularly those who enroll outside the elite public and private universities found in the state, according to a report released Tuesday. "Boosting California's Postsecondary Education Performance," from the Committee for Economic Development, reviews the financial, economic and demographic challenges facing the state's colleges and universities and finds that much of the stress is on access institutions that most students attend. Given limited chances for significant infusions of new funds, the report suggests that new ways of providing education will be key. "Without quantum increases in educational access, productivity, and effectiveness of the state’s postsecondary institutions, particularly those with broad-access missions, there is little likelihood that California will have the human capital to compete successfully in the global economy or assure its citizens access to economic prosperity and a middle-class life."

 

November 27, 2013

Florida Atlantic University football coach Carl Pelini was not fired because he used illegal drugs at a social event, as FAU’s athletic director initially suggested, but because he failed to supervise a staff member, FAU President Dennis J. Crudele wrote in a letter to Pelini obtained by ESPN. Pelini had said after his forced resignation that he never used drugs, and was seeking reinstatement. However, Crudele wrote in the letter that Pelini’s resignation was “converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.” FAU defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis, who resigned alongside Pelini, allegedly engaged in drug use at the same event.

November 27, 2013

Aquinas College, in Michigan, has announced that it will provide a hotel room for a homeless student during the coming break in December when residence halls are closed, MLive reported. Aquinas, like many colleges, completely closes its dormitories during the long break between semesters. A student who is homeless when not at college organized a petition to keep the residence halls open, prompting the college to announce that it would find a hotel room for her. Further the college said it would try to seek better solutions for homeless students who face this issue nationally. “I think our awareness of the needs of homeless students has been increased,” said Chad Gunnoe, provost of the college.

 

 

November 27, 2013

A official at a college in China’s Xinjiang region – a site of separatist unrest – said that students will not graduate unless their political views are approved, Reuters reported. "Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent," the news service quotes Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at Kashgar Teachers College, as saying.

Reuters noted that it is unclear whether this policy has been officially implemented throughout the region. 

November 27, 2013

Ohio State University’s head cheerleading coach, Lenee Buchman, was fired Monday after failing to report sexual misconduct by coaching staff, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Two assistant coaches, Eddie Hollins and Dana Bumbrey, allegedly sent explicit text messages and made inappropriate comments and sexual jokes to athletes. One athlete who the head coach kicked off the team in August had complained that Hollins sent him a text suggesting they engage in a sex act together. The assistant coaches were fired following an investigation and Buchman was sent to a sexual harassment seminar. The student has retained a lawyer and is seeking reinstatement.

November 27, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Ethan Ham of the City University of New York examines what makes an interesting choice and entertaining game. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 27, 2013

Fordham University failed to monitor its scholarship program, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Tuesday, after several “communication breakdowns” led to campus officials awarding 87 illegal scholarships. University staff had a “mistaken belief” that NCAA rules allowed them to award scholarships to athletes enrolled in three credit hours during summer sessions rather than the required six, the public infractions report says, and did not verify NCAA or university rules. The NCAA had considered a proposal to make three credits the new minimum, but it was defeated. Penalties for Fordham include a $20,000 fine, an NCAA rules seminar for academic advisers and compliance staff, two years’ probation, and a compliance review by an outside agency.

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