Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 20, 2014

Professors in the arts and sciences at Walla Walla Community College have voted no confidence in President Steven VanAusdle, criticizing what they say is a lack of support for non-vocational programs and a poor administrative style, The Union-Bulletin reported. After the vote, the board of the college issued a strong statement of support for the president.

 

October 20, 2014

An unusual ad has appeared in newspapers in Oklahoma and Texas criticizing the University of Oklahoma's leadership of the Pride of Oklahoma, a marching band that performs at football games (at left), The Tulsa World reported. The ad -- which quotes many students anonymously -- notes that a requirement to join the band is to agree not to criticize it in any public way. Some students say that the band, once considered one of the best in the country, has fallen considerably in recent years. David Boren, president of the university, issued this statement: “I’ve long had a policy of not responding to anonymous personal attacks,” he wrote in an email response. “It’s a shame that people would waste their money on such ads instead of supporting scholarships for our students.”

 

October 20, 2014

On "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free weekly news podcast, Cathy Davidson joined Editor Scott Jaschik and the moderator Casey Green to talk about why she left Duke University for the City University of New York and how her Futures Initiative may transform graduate and undergraduate education at the enormous public institution. In our other segment, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Harold Levy discusses its new effort to use technology to help low-income students better understand their college-going options. Sign up here to be notified of new "This Week" podcasts.

October 20, 2014

Duquesne University has announced that applicants to its McAnulty College of Liberal Arts will no longer be required to submit SAT or ACT scores. A statement from Paul-James Cukanna, associate provost for enrollment management, said: "Across the spectrum, in all geographic and socioeconomic areas, in urban, suburban and rural schools, both private and public, we have had solid applicants who are motivated and academically talented but don't perform as well as might be expected on standardized tests."

 

 

October 20, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Doug Smith, a physicist at the University of California at San Diego, discusses the role of his field in the study of genetics and DNA. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

October 20, 2014

A historian in Thailand is facing lèse-majesté charges, brought by "ultra-royalists," Khaosod English reported. Such charges can lead to serious punishments in Thailand. Sulak Sivaraksa, the historian, faces the charges over comments he made at an academic forum at Thammasat University in which he questioned whether there was evidence behind the story of King Naresuan winning an elephant battle against a Burmese general 400 years ago. The event is much commemorated in Thai society, as in the illustration below, from Wikipedia.

 

October 17, 2014

Syracuse University has withdrawn an invitation for a campus visit to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist over fears he might transmit Ebola, even though he has been away from Ebola areas for more than 21 days, symptom-free, News Photographer magazine reported. The photograph is Michel du Cille of The Washington Post, who returned from Liberia 21 days ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that those who are symptom-free for 21 days can be considered not to have Ebola. "I just got off the phone with the dean [Lorraine Branham, of the journalism school], and I am pissed off," du Cille said. "I am disappointed in the level of journalism at Syracuse, and I am angry that they missed a great teaching opportunity. Instead they have decided to jump in with the mass hysteria."

Branham told the magazine that the university was responding to student concerns. "He was disinvited because of concerns that were generated by some students that led me to believe that it would lead to even more concerns," Branham said. "So it was in the best interest of the students for me to withdraw the invitation." Added the dean: "It's my responsibility to protect the students. Twenty-one days is the CDC's standard, but there have been questions raised about whether the incubation period is longer. I knew that parents would be upset. And at the end of the day my concern is about the students."

October 17, 2014

A New York court has found that Donald Trump is liable for operating a for-profit institution without proper licensing, Reuters reported. A New York State Supreme Court justice ruled that the real estate entrepreneur had ignored notifications from state officials in 2005 that he needed to register his investment "school" -- known until 2010 as Trump University -- with state officials. A lawyer for Trump said the ruling was mistaken but predicted Trump would ultimately be required to pay little in the way of damages.

 

October 17, 2014

Blackboard will stop supporting the learning management system Angel, which the company acquired in 2009, on Oct. 15, 2016, according to Pennsylvania State University. Blackboard had plans to drop support for Angel in October 2014, but chose in early 2012 to extend support indefinitely. The move means many of the colleges and universities that put plans to upgrade their learning management systems on ice will likely be looking for a new provider. George Kroner, who tracks LMS usage on the Edutechnica blog, estimated about 180 institutions still use Angel.

October 17, 2014

Two American journalism professors were briefly detained in Russia on Thursday for allegedly lacking the proper visas to conduct educational workshops, according to reports on the Boston University and New England Center for Investigative Reporting websites.

Joe Bergantino, a clinical professor of journalism at BU and director of the BU-based investigative reporting center, and Randy Covington, a journalism professor at the University of South Carolina, were conducting a training with 14 Russian journalists in St. Petersburg before being detained and taken to district court, where a judge found them guilty of visa violations. The professors were in Russia through a U.S. Department of State media training grant and reportedly were using the type of visa recommended by the State Department for this type of work. They are not allowed to continue teaching but can return to the United States as scheduled.

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