Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 17, 2014

The University of Saskatchewan has told David Williams, an associate professor in the business school, to remove posters with profanity and blow-up dolls in business attire from his office, CTV Saskatoon reported.  Daphne Taras, the business dean said of the nontraditional nature of his office: “It’s not a little bit. It’s a lot. The entire thing crosses a line from sort of edgy to creepy. An office provided on public funds that is part of an employment setting should not be such that students, faculty or staff should be offended when they walk in.” Williams has filed a grievance asking for permission to keep his office decorated as he sees fit.

 

February 17, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board late last week halted an adjunct union vote at Loyola Marymount University, due to reports of university interference in the organizing process. The election, slated to have begun Friday, won't go forward until the board investigates an unfair labor practice complaint lodged by Loyola Marymount union organizers. The complaint says the university had "interfered with, restrained and coerced" adjuncts by "soliciting employee grievances and expressly or impliedly [sic]sic on that word? -********cf okj promising favorable resolution of these grievances." A university spokeswoman said Friday that the university was not aware of any activity supporting the allegations. Adjuncts at Loyola Marymount are attempting to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, which is attempting to organize adjuncts across Los Angeles and several other metro areas, including Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as part of its Adjunct Action campaign. SEIU alleges that Loyola Marymount has held mandatory, small-group meetings for adjuncts, during which administrators have asked them to vote down the union.

February 17, 2014

Portland State University has agreed to pay $160,000 and to change some policies to settle a lawsuit filed by a deaf student, and another settlement -- that one with the U.S. Justice Department - is pending in the case, The Oregonian reported. The student's complaint said that the university barred her from dormitories with carpeting and biology labs because she uses a service dog. Further, she said that the university failed to intervene when she suffered harassment in the dormitory when people would knock on her door in the middle of the night, knowing that do so would prompt her service dog to wake her up. A statement from the university said: "While we deny the allegations of the complaint, we acknowledge that Ms. Leland's experience was difficult and wish her success as she continues her studies."

 

February 17, 2014

The board of Pennsylvania State University is expected today to name Eric Barron as the institution's next president, The Centre Daily Times reported. Barron, a former dean at Penn State, has been president of Florida State University since 2010. The Penn State search has been difficult, as the university continues to recover from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and as an earlier leading candidate pulled out of contention amid reports he had been padding his salary without authorization from his board.

February 14, 2014

Faculty members have voted no confidence and students are protesting Gregory Jordan, the president of King University, in Tennessee, The Johnson City Press reported. Administrators say that Jordan is making changes to position the college in the changing environment for higher education. But professors say that he has refused to listen to their concerns, and falsely characterized critics as a marginal group.

 

February 14, 2014

The University of the People, an unusual online institution in which students pay no tuition and faculty members volunteer, has been accredited, The New York Times reported. Officials at the university have predicted that accreditation could lead to rapid growth. The university was accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

The university's founder described his goals in a podcast interview with Inside Higher Ed in 2009.

 

February 14, 2014

Pearson, the education-technology company, this week announced that it has created a new digital badging system, dubbed Acclaim. The open platform, which the company rolled out this week at a Silicon Valley event on badging, allows learners to display their skills, knowledge and achievements on the Web. The Mozilla Foundation and Blackboard have also worked on digital badging, having collaborated on a separate platform.

February 14, 2014

A review of the literature on scientific genius and age -- published by the National Bureau of Economic Research -- may challenge conventional wisdom. "Formal studies are often surprising, both in their findings and in their broader implications. In contrast to common perceptions, most great scientific contributions are not the product of precocious youngsters but rather come disproportionately in middle age," the study says. "Moreover, perceptions that some fields, such as physics, feature systematically younger contributions than others do not stand up to empirical scrutiny."

 

February 14, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Matthew Johnson of Binghamton University explains the link between poverty and marriage stability. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 14, 2014

Black students at Drake University complained about a food service dinner Wednesday to mark Black History Month, The Des Moines Register reported. The meal -- which was planned by the food service provider Sodexo without consulting with black students -- featured food items such as fried chicken and collard greens. Students said that serving such food reinforced stereotypes and they added an educational program to the dinner. Sodexo issued a statement of apology: “While clearly a well-intentioned effort to celebrate African-Americans’ cultural history, the result is inappropriate and misguided."

 

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