Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

A California judge ruled Friday that Patrick Harran, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, must stand trial on charges in a lab fire the caused the death of his assistant in 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported. He had sought to have the judge dismiss felony charges of violating state health and safety rules. Harran, backed by the university, has maintained that the death was the result of a tragic accident, not any violations of law.

 

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of New South Wales has announced that it will accept scores from the gaokao, China’s national college entry examination, for direct admission to many of its undergraduate programs, The Australian reported. While the gaokao is commonly criticized for emphasizing rote learning, a 2009 Australian Education International report found that the use of gaokao cut-off scores in admissions could “produce students with outstanding ability.” Several other Australian universities, including La Trobe and Monash Universities and the Universities of Adelaide and Sydney, also accept gaokao scores for direct admission.

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- While the Pell Grant is exempt from the mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect in March, other federal higher education grants are not. Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants, for the children of members of the military killed in action, have been cut back by 10 percent for new recipients beginning March 1, the Education Department announced in guidance issued Friday. TEACH Grants, for students planning to become teachers in high-need areas, have been reduced by 7.1 percent.

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:36am

A fraternity video in which a student appeared in blackface has sparked outrage at the University of California at Irvine, CBS Los Angeles reported. The student in blackface is portraying the rapper Jay-Z, and the video was made to welcome new members of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity. “We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone whatsoever," said the fraternity's president. "On behalf of my brothers who were involved in the video, know that it was unintentional. But unintentional or not we do know that it was wrong."

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am
  • Tracy Bicknell-Holmes, head of the Engineering Library and Patent & Trademark Resource Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, has been appointed as dean of Albertsons Library at Boise State University, in Idaho.
  • Terri M. Carbaugh, interim director of state and federal relations at Sacramento State University, in California, has been selected as associate vice president for legislative and external relations at California State University at Long Beach.
  • Timothy Hoff, associate professor of health policy and management at the State University of New York at Albany, has been named associate professor of management, healthcare systems and health policy at Northeastern University, in Massachusetts.
  • Matteel Jones, vice president for student affairs at Technical College of the Lowcountry, in South Carolina, has been selected as vice president for student services at Greenville Technical College, also in South Carolina.
  • John Keith, associate research scholar at Princeton University, in New Jersey, has been appointed as assistant professor and R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • James A. Larimore, deputy director for student success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been chosen as dean of students at Amherst College.

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

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Three Pennsylvania institutions -- Marywood University, Keystone College and Lackawanna College -- have removed Robert J. Mellow's name from their buildings, The Times Leader reported. Mellow was previously a powerful state legislator. But he is now in jail, after he pleaded guilty last year to under-reporting his income for his 2008 tax return, and committing mail fraud by using his Senate staff members to perform political duties for himself and others.

 

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- As Congress begins the long process of renewing the Higher Education Act, the leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce published an open letter to higher education "stakeholders" Thursday, asking for suggestions on rewriting the sweeping law governing federal financial aid programs. Representatives are especially interested in a few areas, they wrote: empowering "students as consumers"; simplifying student aid and loans; increasing affordability, accountability and completion; reducing costs; and balancing "the need for accountability with the burden of federal requirements."

In a statement, the committee's chairman, Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, emphasized paring regulations, simplifying financial aid and providing families with better information. Representative George Miller, a California Democrat, said he hoped to focus on the increasing price of higher education, student debt, barriers to completion, and community colleges.

The committee said it welcomes suggestions -- the more specific the better -- at HEA.Reauth@mail.house.gov.

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Central Florida has suspended Hyung-il Jung, an instructor, over a comment about "a killing spree," but students say that he posed no danger and was misunderstood, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Jung told a group of students, he said, something along these lines: "This question is very difficult. It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these questions. Am I on a killing spree or what?" Some students have sent a joint letter to the university saying that there is no need for the investigation Central Florida says it is conducting, and that the comment was clearly a joke.

 

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:27am

When it comes to fighting terrorism, Canadian prime minister wants a law and order approach, not social science. The arrest of immigrants to Canada in a plot to attack a train from Canada to New York City has led to some Liberal Party politicians calling for efforts to understand why some people embrace terrorist ideologies. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, is having none of it. It comments that have attracted widespread attention, he said: "In terms of radicalization, this is obviously something we follow. Our security agencies work with each other and with others around the globe to track people who are threats to Canada and to watch threats that may evolve. I think though, this is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression," The Ottawa Citizen reported.

 

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Pearson VUE, which operates a worldwide network of testing centers for various exams, has been experiencing significant technical problems this week.  The company's Facebook page features numerous comments from people unable to take their scheduled exams or to get information about when they will be able to do so. Some people are posting stories of how hours-long delays likely affected their performance on exams that are crucial to their careers. On the Facebook page, Pearson indicates that it is aware of the problems and is trying to fix them.

"We are continuing our efforts to restore normal service as quickly as possible. We are in the midst of implementing recommendations by our internal and external technology experts, but it is too soon to know how quickly this will improve system performance. Please note that there will likely be additional variations in system performance as we implement these changes," says a statement posted Thursday evening. "We fully appreciate that many of you have been significantly impacted by the circumstances over the past several days, and we will increase testing capacity and operational support to accommodate scheduling and/or rescheduling of those affected as quickly as possible once normal system performance is restored."

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