Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 2, 2013

Research and development spending by colleges and universities in 2012 fell for the first time since 1974 when adjusted for inflation, the National Science Foundation said last week.

Expenditures on R&D rose slightly in current dollars, to $65.8 billion from $65.3 billion in 2011; federal, state and local spending actually declined, but institutions' own research spending rose slightly, as seen in the table below.

When adjusted for inflation, though, in 2005 dollars, all research expenditures declined, driven down by a steady drop in funds from the federal stimulus legislation of 2009. The figures are in millions.

Fiscal year All R&D Spending Federal Govt. State and Local Govt. Institution Funds Business Other
2010 $61,257 $37,477 $3,853 $11,941 $3,198 $4,088
2011 65,274 40,771 3,831 12,601 3,181 4,890
2012 65,775 40,130 3,704 13,674 3,282 4,984

 

December 2, 2013

“On the Guarding of the Heart,” a piece for chamber orchestra by Serbian-born composer Djuro Zivkovic was named Sunday night as receipient of the 2014 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Born in Belgrade in 1975, Zivkovic has lived in Stockholm since 2000, and teaches at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

December 2, 2013

Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie flip-flopping on a bill that would allow undocumented students in New Jersey to receive in-state tuition? The New York Times reported that Governor Christie pledged support for the idea during his recent, successful re-election campaign in which he portrayed himself as a Republican who could do well with groups (such as Latino voters) that have not been supporting the GOP lately. But with a bill to offer these students in-state rates about to reach him, Governor Christie has talked about it being "unsignable" because it would cover immigrant students at New Jersey boarding schools. It is not clear that there are many such students, but some advocates for immigrant students are accusing the governor of quickly abandoning the stance he took when running for re-election.

 

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.

November 27, 2013

Former State University of New York at Stony Brook athletics director Jim Fiore, who was fired Nov. 19, had faced complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation, misappropriation of university resources, and interrogation of athletes and staff about their sexuality, ESPN reported. The university’s Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action knew for years of Fiore’s misconduct but did not act, according to documents. Fiore had 31 months left on his contract, and Stony Brook will pay the remaining $800,000 he would have earned.

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. 

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