Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 13, 2013

The board of Oakland University, in Michigan, has authorized a $230,000 deferred compensation bonus to Gary Russi even though the former president didn't meet the specific criteria established for the payment, The Detroit Free Press reported. The funds were only to be paid if Russi served through June 30, 2014. He quit unexpectedly this year when the university fired his wife, the basketball coach at Oakland. The board chair said that the payment was appropriate, given Russi's contributions to the university. But the chair also said he didn't know about the provision requiring that Russi work until next year to qualify for the deferred compensation.

August 13, 2013

McGill University is facing scrutiny and criticism over an increased emphasis on diversity in medical school admissions, The Montreal Gazette reported. In the context of Quebec, diversity at McGill (historically an institution serving the English-speaking minority) in part means recruiting more Francophone students. In 2010, McGill eliminated the requirement that applicants take the Medical College Admission Test, which is not offered in French. Since then Francophone enrollment has increased from 31.6 to 37.5 percent. Some at the university, however, say that highly talented Anglo applicants are being rejected unfairly in the name of diversity. In Canada, the vast majority of medical students enroll in their home province, so this shift raises issues for Anglo students who are unlikely to be admitted to Quebec's Francophone medical schools.

 

 

August 13, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Chan of Iowa State University explains the process that makes our memories vulnerable to the accumulation of errors. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 12, 2013

Four former members of the Vanderbilt University football team were charged Friday with raping an unconscious woman -- also a Vanderbilt student -- in a dormitory, The Tennessean reported. The university, which had already suspended the former athletes and barred them from campus, issued a statement that said: "We are proud of the collective accomplishments of our student athletes over many years and we expect the highest standard of conduct from them. It is a privilege, not a right, to represent Vanderbilt as a student athlete, and when our standards of conduct are not met, we will hold our student athletes accountable. The charges brought today against the four former Vanderbilt football players allege conduct which is abhorrent and will never be tolerated. We will review our athletics program to be sure that it, like all other programs at the university, reflects our culture of community and respect for others and that our student athletes are held to the same high standards of conduct as all our students."

August 12, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat whose position makes him a member of the University of California Board of Regents, voted (with the minority) against the salary set for the new chancellor of the university's Riverside campus, The Los Angeles Times reported. The salary proposed and approved for Kim Wilcox, the new chancellor, was $354,000, 9 percent more than the previous chancellor received. Brown said he supported the selection of Wilcox, but objected to the increased salary. "I consider the growth in inequality in California, the U.S. and the world in general a problem that is tearing apart the social fabric."

August 12, 2013

Israeli universities for the first time are being allowed to offer some faculty members individual contracts -- with salaries 30 percent higher than the norm -- instead of having all professors covered by collective agreements, Haaretz reported. The goal of the initiative is to recruit back to Israel star faculty members who have left for universities abroad, typically in the United States, where top faculty members earn more than they do in Israel.

 

August 12, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Karim Kassam of Carnegie Mellon University reveals what brain imaging techniques have to say about the spectrum of human emotions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

August 12, 2013

The board of the University of North Carolina system voted Friday to bar campuses from offering gender-neutral housing, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The university's Chapel Hill campus had decided last year to start offering some gender-neutral housing, and the board's action stops that plan from taking effect. The board acted without discussing the issue in public, but the Chapel Hill move has been criticized by conservative groups in the state. Advocates for gender-neutral housing have said that it is an important option for transgender students and for some gay and lesbian students who may face hostile environments in traditional housing. Members of Campus Pride, an organization the is an advocate for gay, lesbian and transgender students, protested outside the meeting, with signs that read "Trans Lives Matter."

 

 

August 12, 2013

Medical schools in Eastern Europe are seeing increases in the number of foreign students enrolling, particularly in programs taught in English, The New York Times reported. The programs are less expensive than those in the United States and are easier to get into.

 

August 9, 2013

The National Collegiate Athletic Association got slammed – perhaps even more aggressively than usual – online this week after the ESPN men’s basketball commentator Jay Bilas pointed out an apparent hypocrisy: The NCAA staunchly prohibits athletes from profiting off their own images, but the association was selling jerseys on its ShopNCAASports.com website that seemed to do just that. While the jersey wouldn’t include a name, if a shopper searched for “Johnny Manziel” – the 19-year-old Heisman Trophy winner who is now under NCAA investigation for selling autographed photos – up popped jerseys featuring the Texas A&M University quarterback’s number and team colors.

The NCAA responded quickly, removing the search bar but staying silent when people noticed. Its officials couldn’t escape the questions during an NCAA Executive Committee press call Thursday, though, where NCAA President Mark Emmert said the association would no longer sell university jerseys or memorabilia. Adding that he didn’t know how the practice began and that it was “a mistake,” Emmert noted that the website is an aggregator for other retailers and that the NCAA did not profit off the sales. Nonetheless, the NCAA is “exiting” the business.

“I can certainly understand how people could see that as hypocritical,” Emmert said of the sales.

Officials noted that the website will still sell NCAA-branded apparel.

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