Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 27, 2014

The last week saw multiple campus shootings, some fatal. On Friday, a student at South Carolina State University was shot and killed, and authorities on Saturday arrested a man, saying that the two were arguing before the shooting, CNN reported. On Saturday, a man whose identity has not been released was shot in the parking lot of Los Angeles Valley College, CBS Los Angles reported. Earlier in the week, a Purdue University student was charged in murdering a fellow student. And at Widener University, a student was injured after being shot on Monday, The Delaware County Daily Times reported.

 

 

January 27, 2014

West Virginia, like many states, provides college presidents with charge cards. But unlike other states, West Virginia exempts the presidents from rules about what they can charge, The Gazette-Mail reported. As examples of what a president can charge (but other state officials could not), the article noted these charges by Brian Hemphill, president of West Virginia State University: Chicago Bears football tickets, a $416 dinner and multiple alcohol and room service charges. A university official defended the charges, as related to "donor cultivation."

 

January 27, 2014

The job market for faculty positions in religion was relatively stable in 2012,date is sic. the religion associations aren't as current as others. -sj better than it was immediately after the economic downturn hit in 2008, but still down from earlier, according to a report by the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.

Based on job listings with the associations, the report says that the 2012 totals were only about 80 percent of those in 2008. In the past three years, the scholarly sub-specialties in which there were the greatest increases in positions were New Testament, Christian origins and ancient Christianity; and systematic/constructive theology.

Among the specialties showing declines were introduction to religion; Hebrew Bible; and religions of the ancient Near East.

 

January 27, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Curtis Marean of Arizona State University discusses the technological developments that made early humans deadly hunters. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 27, 2014

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is starting a wide-ranging effort to promote entrepreneurship and turn student inventions into products and businesses, The Boston Globe reported. MIT is already no slouch when it comes to technology innovation, but officials have been concerned that Harvard and Stanford Universities have been expanding efforts on promoting startup culture. MIT recently started giving academic credit to engineering students for participating in a boot camp to turn ideas into businesses. Also under consideration are such steps as creating an undergraduate minor in innovation and entrepreneurship and funding student-run startups.

 

January 27, 2014

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has started an investigation into how Pennsylvania State University has responded to allegations of sexual assault (beyond allegations involving the former coach, Jerry Sandusky, who has been convicted for abusing numerous boys), The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The OCR investigation was prompted by data the department analyzed, not a complaint. One question of interest to federal investigators is why the university reported 56 instances of forcible sex offenses in 2012, more than double the 24 reported the prior year.

 

January 27, 2014

An agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will pave the way for more collaboration among the universities in both parts of Ireland, Times Higher Education reported. The Northern Ireland government will provide some financial support to the Republic of Ireland's research grant program. Going forward, Northern Ireland universities will now be able to apply for support for joint research efforts as long as they also involve an Irish university outside of Northern Ireland.

 

January 27, 2014

An investigation by ESPN has found that the University of Missouri at Columbia failed to investigate an alleged rape by one or more members of the football team. The article says that the university did nothing after learning of the allegations, and that the alleged victim -- a student who was a member of the women's swim team -- eventually committed suicide. University officials said that they didn't have enough information to act on the possible assault.

On Sunday, Timothy M. Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, announced that he is requesting an independent review of the case. "Such an independent review will be beneficial to all our campuses so that we can determine if there were any shortcomings with respect to MU’s handling of this matter and, if so, ways in which to improve the handling of such matters in the future," he said.

 

 

 

January 24, 2014

John Lippincott announced Thursday that he will retire as president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education a year from now. He has been president of the association since 2004, having previously served as vice president for communications and marketing at CASE and associate vice chancellor for advancement at the University System of Maryland.

 

January 24, 2014

Wisconsin’s two major education unions are planning to merge, in light of declining memberships following 2011 anti-union legislation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Under the plan, the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, which includes faculty at public, postsecondary institutions, would join with the National Education Association-affiliated Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest K-12 teachers union. The new union would be called Wisconsin Together, tentatively starting in September. A vote on the merger is slated for April.

Following Act 10, which made union membership and dues-paying voluntary, the K-12 union has lost about one-third of its members, according to the report. The higher education union has about 6,500 members, down from a peak of 16,000. Kim Kohlhaas, AFT-Wisconsin president, said the new structure would allow the union through pooled resources to focus on professional development and advocacy for public education – not just faculty working conditions. “I think Act 10 was a huge eye-opener for us,” Kohlhaas told the Journal Sentinel. “I think historically even the union got caught up in [collective bargaining], and it used to be a lot of contract organization. This allows us an opportunity to focus on that completely differently.”

If approved, the joint AFT-NEA union become the sixth such union nationwide, after those in Minnesota, Florida, North Dakota, Montana and New York.

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