Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Susan Perry of the University of California Los Angeles explores how early stability can shape the adult lives of social creatures. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 4:25am

Much of the work of the HathiTrust (a consortium of universities) to make books in university collections more easily searchable and accessible to people with disabilities is protected by "fair use" and is not subject to a copyright suit brought by authors' groups, a federal judge has ruled.

"The totality of the fair-use factors suggest that copyright law’s 'goal of promoting the progress of science ... would be better served by allowing the use than by preventing it," said the ruling by Judge Harold Baer Jr. "The enhanced search capabilities that reveal non-copyright material, the protection of defendants’ fragile books, and, perhaps most importantly, the unprecedented ability of print-disabled individuals to have an equal opportunity to compete with their sighted peers in the ways imagined by the [Americans With Disabilities Act] protect the copies made by defendants as fair use...."

The judge added: "Although I recognize that the facts here may on some levels be without precedent, I am convinced that they fall safely within the protection of fair use such that there is no genuine issue of material fact. I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by Defendants’ MDP and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts that at the same time effectuates the ideals espoused by the ADA."

A blog post by James Grimmelmann, a professor at the New York Law School who has followed the case, said that "on every substantive copyright issue, HathiTrust won."


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:27am

King's College, in Pennsylvania, recently announced layoffs that will eliminate 11 full-time non-faculty positions, with the goal of eliminating a deficit, Citizen's Voice reported. Officials said that tuition discounting through financial aid exceeded what the college could afford, forcing the cuts. (This language corrects an earlier version.)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Texas Southern University, which has spent 16 of the past 20 years either on probation or in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, was cited Thursday with a lack of institutional control for, among other things, allowing 129 athletes in 13 sports to compete while academically ineligible.

Texas Southern will now add another five years’ probation to its record, suffer a postseason ban for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons and the 2012-13 men’s basketball season, and reduce its available scholarships and recruiting activities in those two sports. The NCAA also took the unusual steps of limiting Texas Southern’s competition while it’s on probation to only Football Championship Series teams, because of safety concerns related to the aforementioned reductions, and of requiring an in-person review and report of athletics policies and practices through the probation term (at the university’s expense). Finally, team records for all sports from the 2006-7 and 2009-10 academic years must be vacated, as well as the football and women’s soccer records from 2010-11.

The violations occurred over the course of seven years (2004-5 through 2010-11), and while the majority of the involved athletes were not meeting progress-to-degree or transfer requirements, they continued to receive athletic aid and travel expenses. Further, Texas Southern’s former head football coach “knowingly allowed” a booster to recruit for him, and the former men’s basketball gave the NCAA false or misleading information during the investigation. “The staff not only failed to dissuade the booster from making such contacts but also actively encouraged him,” the Committee on Infractions said in its summary of the case. The basketball team itself also got in trouble for failing to reduce its scholarships and athletic activity per previous NCAA violation citations. The public infractions report goes into greater detail about the committee's findings.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Robert J. Lefkowitz, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University Medical Center; and Brian K. Kobilka, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, were this morning named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They were honored "for studies of G-protein–coupled receptors."



Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

A couple from Hong Kong paid an educational "consultant" $2.2 million in an unsuccessful effort to get their sons into Harvard University, according to court documents, The Boston Globe reported. The parents are now suing the consultant, who has acknowledged taking their money, but denied many of their other allegations. The money in theory covered strategy for getting the sons in, donations made to ease their path, tutoring and more. Both the parents and the consultant declined to comment.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Norman Housley of the University of Leicester explains what a recent archaeological discovery could mean for our understanding of one of England’s most maligned monarchs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members at Wright State University have voted, 92-29, to unionize. They voted to join the existing unit at Wright State, organized by the American Association of University Professors, that represents tenure-track faculty members.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am
  • Matthew K. Gold, assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology, has been promoted to associate professor there.
  • Joseph J. Grilli, vice president of training institutes, external affairs and planning at Luzerne County Community College, in Pennsylvania, has been chosen as director of corporate and institutional recruitment at Misericordia University, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Beatriz Betancourt Hardy, director of the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William and Mary, has been appointed as dean of libraries at Salisbury University, in Maryland.
  • Brian W. Jack, associate professor and vice chair of family medicine at Boston University, in Massachusetts, has been promoted to chair and professor of family medicine.
  • Keith A. Orris, senior vice president at Lancaster General Health, in Pennsylvania, has been named senior vice president for corporate relations and economic development at Drexel University, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Paula Witherell, public relations director at Hilbert College, in New York, has been selected as assistant to the president for communications/deputy chief of staff at Buffalo State of the State University of New York.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:23am

Nicholas Lemann will announce today that he is stepping down as the journalism dean at Columbia University, The New York Times reported. As dean, Lemann has been a prominent voice in discussions of the reform of journalism education, and has attracted new resources and faculty slots to his program. While he has been popular with many students, Columbia's journalism school (like many others) has seen fairly steady criticism from students over their difficult job prospects. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia's president, plans to personally lead the search for a new dean.



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