Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 5, 2013

An article in The New York Times provides an overview of the new Football Performance Center at the University of Oregon. Among the features noted by the Times: rugs woven in Nepal, couches made in Italy, a weight room featuring a floor of Brazilian hardwood and a barbershop where utensils are from Milan. The center was originally projected to cost $68 million, but the Times reporter found that to be "conservative" based on a tour. The university claims not to know the full cost. Donations from Phil Knight, a founder of Nike, paid for the facility (which has Nike-themed features). University officials said that they were proud to be associated with Nike. "We are the University of Nike,” said Jeff Hawkins, senior associate athletic director of football administration and operations. "We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits."

August 5, 2013

The University of California Academic Senate has adopted an open-access policy under which future research articles by professors at any of the system's 10 campuses will be available free and online in a university depository. The decision was reached after six years of deliberations and represents an advance for advocates of open access. Chris Kelty, associate professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and chair of the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, said: "This policy will cover more faculty and more research than ever before, and it sends a powerful message that faculty want open access and they want it on terms that benefit the public and the future of research."

August 5, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Brian Lowe of the State University of New York at Oneonta explains why Big Data is becoming a focus of academic inquiry. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 5, 2013

A University of Utah investigation found "reckless" misconduct in a lab, resulting in numerous errors in published papers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Errors have raised questions about 11 medical research papers published over the last five years. The investigation was prompted by the retractions of two of the papers. The author of many of the papers has been fired and the head of the lab retired. They and others affiliated with the lab did not respond to requests for comment.

 

August 2, 2013

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a major supporter of entrepreneurial education, has released two white papers about the results of those efforts. The papers note that entrepreneurial education is no longer on "the margins of higher education," as many more institutions have started efforts.

 

August 2, 2013

Hugo Schwyzer, who teaches history and women's studies at Pasadena City College, is dropping his controversial course on pornography, The Pasadena Star-News reported. Schwyzer said that his online activities have been so controversial (he has until now written regularly on sex and gender issues) that he needs to step back and focus on his family. He said this was especially important because he recently had an affair. The controversial course is about pornography, and Schwyzer clashed with administrators over his guest lecturers (some of whom are stars in the adult film industry). He told the Star-News he didn't want a repeat of the hostility from administrators toward his course. "I'm exhausted by threats and controversy," Schwyzer said. "I need a break."

 
August 2, 2013

The University of California System bars those flying on the university's dime from using anything but economy class, unless there is a certified medical need. The Center for Investigative Reporting found that 6 of the 17 academic deans "routinely" are certified as having a medical need to fly business or first class, and that travel bills go up as a result. The article noted that one of the deans who does not fly economy is Judy Olian of the Anderson School of Management. The article said that she "has at least twice tackled the arduous 56-mile cycling leg of the long course relay at Monterey County’s Wildflower Triathlon, according to her expense records and race results. She described herself in a 2011 Los Angeles Times profile as a 'cardio junkie.' " None of the deans cited in the article would comment. A spokeswoman for the UCLA business school would not identify Olian's medical condition, but said that it does not interfere with her biking.

UCLA provided a statement defending the need for deans to travel: "While today’s times demand financial prudence, UCLA must make investments in travel and entertainment-related activities to continue its trajectory as one of the world’s top research universities and a national leader in securing gifts and research funding."

August 2, 2013

An article in Chemistry World explores the effect of new guidelines barring European Union funding for institutions in the occupied territories on Israel’s continuing access to European research and development grants. Of the eight universities in Israel, the new guidelines will likely have the most significant effects on Ariel University, which is located in the West Bank and was upgraded to university status last year despite protests from many Israeli academics. 

August 2, 2013

Altius Education, a for-profit company that runs Ivy Bridge College, announced late Thursday that Tiffin University, a nonprofit institution in Ohio, has been ordered by its accreditor to stop offering associate degrees through Ivy Bridge. Those degrees have been covered by Tiffin's accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, which according to Altius said that the Ivy Bridge programs must end by October 20. Ivy Bridge allows students to earn associate degrees online that can then be transferred to other institutions, although that transfer has depended on the program's accreditation. Ivy Bridge said it would focus immediately on trying to help students transfer to accredited institutions.

The announcement offered this explanation of the Higher Learning Commission's action: "In 2010, the HLC board approved continuing accreditation for Tiffin University and Ivy Bridge College through 2020. Since then, the HLC has made changes to select policies and procedures, and on July 25, the HLC notified Tiffin University that the business structure of Ivy Bridge College did not align with their changes in policy and issued the October 20 deadline for disengagement."

Here is a 2011 article in Inside Higher Ed on the Ivy Bridge-Tiffin relationship, noting that the program had won many supporters.

 

August 2, 2013

After abruptly firing its president -- who had been in office for less than two years -- in May, Arcadia University’s board does not plan on naming an interim president by the time classes begin in the fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Instead, chief operating officer Nicolette DeVille Christensen will run the university with the full authority of a president, although not carrying that title. Christopher van de Velde, the board chair, told the Inquirer that Arcadia is being run “very well” by Christensen, and the board is not yet “ready” to start a presidential search.

“She’s been a leader for many years now at the university,” a spokeswoman said about Christensen to Inside Higher Ed. Christensen joined Arcadia in the summer of 2008 and served as vice president of the College of Global Studies.

In the past three years, Arcadia has had four different leaders. Former president Jerry Greiner announced in the fall of 2011 that he would retire at the end of the academic year, but he left his position several months shy of the semester's end. Interim President James P. Gallagher who followed after, was supposed to stay until a new president arrived, but also exited early, a source told the Inquirer. Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III was elected president in 2011 and then mysteriously fired this past spring. Oxholm was shocked when he was fired, and the board never offered an explanation for the decision. His removal spurred anger from faculty, students and community members.

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