Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 14, 2017

Kentucky State University's board voted Monday to name M. Christopher Brown the university's next president, The Courier-Journal reported. Many faculty members and others were unhappy with the search and questioned whether any of the finalists were worthy of leading the financially challenged historically black college. Brown has most recently been provost at Southern University.

March 14, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute, Kishwar Rizvi, associate professor in the history of art at Yale University, delves into when art was seen as an important commodity among kings and queens. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

March 13, 2017

Concordia University in Montreal will buy five copies each of five books it mistakenly digitized and made available for free, The Globe and Mail reported. The university's Centre for Expanded Poetics had digitized the books in an effort to save students some money on course materials, but it had not obtained the necessary permissions to do so. After being alerted to the copyright infringement by the newspaper and the Writers’ Union of Canada, the center removed the digital copies from its website.

March 13, 2017

In an essay in Salon, Raymond Crossman (right), president of Adler University, revealed that he is HIV-positive, making him perhaps the first college president to disclose such a status. In the essay Adler compared President Trump's treatment of disadvantaged groups to how President Reagan treated those with HIV and AIDS as the epidemic spread.

"I have lived with HIV for about 30 years, and yet this disclosure is a new one for me to offer in my professional life. I am a university president who has been out as a gay man across my career, but up until now, disclosure about my HIV status has been on a need-to-know basis," Crossman wrote. "Why am I making it public now? Because of the parallels between then and now. In 1985, the president not speaking one particular word caused us injury and death. In 2017, the president speaking many incendiary words is causing injury and death."

March 13, 2017

Editors of The Crusader, the student newspaper at the College of the Holy Cross, are considering changing the name of the publication. The editors announced the reconsideration based on their concerns and those of faculty members that a publication of the Ku Klux Klan shares the name.

A letter from editors explaining their concerns shared these anecdotes: "Earlier this year, an editorial from an entity not associated with the college arrived in our mailbox, imploring our publication to cover the 'salient sociological phenomenon' of white genocide. The author denounced 'the mainline, controlled liberal media' for failing to cover the 'obvious conclusion … that multiculturalism is a prescription for white genocide.' Also enclosed was an article clipping from The Barnes Review, a conservative journal described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as 'one of the most virulent anti-Semitic organizations around.' The author of the submission was a third party bearing no discernable relationship to Holy Cross. We wonder, then, whether the name of our publication might have been one influence behind this individual’s decision to send such a vitriolic letter, the contents of which we unequivocally denounce as antithetical to the Jesuit tradition and the tradition of this publication."

The student paper's logo is above, while the image at left is from the Klan publication.

March 13, 2017

Arizona Summit Law School is drawing closer to a historically black university in Florida, with the for-profit law school striking an affiliation agreement with Bethune-Cookman University.

Leaders hope the affiliation, which must still be approved by accreditors, will help them diversity the legal profession. They also want it to cut the cost of legal education, improve student outcomes and establish Bethune-Cookman -- located in Daytona Beach -- nationally.

The agreement comes as Arizona Summit attempts to improve a bar-passage rate that dropped to 25 percent for first-time test takers in July 2016, according to The Arizona Republic. Arizona Summit, located in downtown Phoenix, is owned by the controversial InfiLaw System, which also owns the Florida Coastal School of Law and the Charlotte School of Law. The Charlotte School of Law continues to operate despite being placed on probation by the American Bar Association and losing its access to federal financial aid.

Arizona Summit’s president told the Republic the law school is working toward becoming a nonprofit institution but the Bethune-Cookman affiliation does not change its for-profit status. Arizona Summit drastically cut its student body in recent years; it now has 300 students after previously enrolling as many as 1,000. It has previously been noted as a school that admits students with low median LSAT scores, which drew concern that many of its students may have trouble passing the bar exam.

The two institutions already had a relationship allowing Bethune-Cookman students early admission into Arizona Summit. A news release on the new agreement noted that affiliations have sometimes come before acquisitions.

March 13, 2017

The estate of a distinguished professor emerita of art history professor at the University of Kansas donated $1.1 million to the institution, to support its Spencer Museum of Art and the study of art history, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The gift brings Marilyn Stokstad’s total lifetime gifts to the university to more than $2.3 million. Stokstad died last year at age 87, but the university announced her most recent donation last week.

“Stokstad had a profound impact on the Spencer Museum of Art through her leadership, scholarship and progressive ideas. She focused her life, resources and formidable intelligence on works of art and their role in education and human experience,” Saralyn Reece Hardy, museum director, said in a statement. “We are especially honored that she chose to support aspects of the museum that help us sustain opportunities for publishing scholars and provide a welcoming space for bringing art and people together.” Stokstad, who specialized in medieval and Spanish art and wrote widely used textbooks, began teaching at Kansas in 1958 and retired in 2002.

March 13, 2017

Many academic parents saw their lives reflected in a BBC interview gone viral last week. In case you haven’t seen it, Robert E. Kelly, an associate professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea, was being interviewed via Skype about President Park Geun-hye's impeachment when his pigtailed young daughter marched into the room. She was promptly followed by her baby brother in a rolling chair -- and by Kelly’s mortified wife, who cleared the howling children out of the room, live on the BBC. 

Take a look and try not to laugh.

Twitter lit up with reactions from others who had been there. Here are a few examples, including one from Kelly himself.

March 13, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute, Jennifer Mueller, associate professor of management at the University of San Diego, explains why many organizations actually reject creativity. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

March 10, 2017

St. Olaf College is removing the name of the late Reidar Dittmann from a campus building after receiving "credible evidence" that he engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of his career there, The Star Tribune reported. Dittmann taught art and Norwegian at St. Olaf for more than 45 years and died in 2010. The allegations surfaced in the last year as part of an effort by the college to reach out to victims of sexual assault. When several allegations were made, the college conducted an investigation and confirmed details of some of the allegations, and so decided it needed to remove the Dittmann name from the building.

David Anderson, president of the college, said, “You reach a point where you have a sufficient degree of evidence that’s credible and verifiable and comes from multiple sources …. Then you’re in a tough spot. Are you going to say, well, because the alleged perpetrator is deceased, we’re not going to take any steps, even though we have this very high degree of certainty of what happened? Or, knowing what we know now, we can’t go forward with that name on the building.”

Family members of Dittmann issued a statement that said in part, “The allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago deeply trouble his family, many members of whom proudly attended the college and grew up with it as an integral part of our lives. We abhor sexual misconduct without exception, but we are also devastated by the impossibility of due process for the person we knew and loved.” The statement also criticized “the process used to indict our father posthumously; the haste with which the college reached its conclusion; and finally, the public humiliation our family is experiencing as a result of the college’s communications of their actions.”


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