Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 9, 2013

The University of Oregon is condemning the behavior of students who on Friday responded to a snowfall by attacking cars and people with snowballs, making it difficult or dangerous for some people (reportedly including professors) to drive. A statement from the university said it was working with authorities to determine who was involved and whether their actions constituted a criminal act. Here is the video:

 

 

December 9, 2013

Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a possible strike, following 17 months of contract negotiations with the institution. Joe Persky, professor of economics and president of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty, a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, said in a statement that he hoped to resolve contract negotiations without a strike. Mediation sessions have been scheduled through January.

But if the union decides a strike is necessary, 10 days' notice will be given, as required by law. About 80 percent of voters, both on and off the tenure track, showed up for the election, and 95 percent approved of a possible strike, according to the union. The faculty association says it's pushing for more equitable compensation for non-tenure-track professors and shared governance, among other issues.

In an email to faculty members sent Friday, Lon Kaufman, the provost, said he and other administrators would remain in "immediate contact" with the bargaining team to try to reach a resolution, but said that in the event of a strike, "the university does have an obligation to our students and other constituents to continue normal operations. It should also be emphasized that no faculty member is required to strike or stop work, even if urged by the union. Every faculty member has the right to continue work." He continued: "Frankly, both sides need to focus on resolving the contracts. Please be certain that the UIC administration has heard the proposals by the union and will respond with sincere and meaningful proposals as we move through the mediation phase."

December 9, 2013

The Interfraternity Council at the University of Pittsburgh plans this year to fine each fraternity $20 for every tenth of a point below 2.5 of each pledge's grade-point average, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The goal of the new policy is to raise the average G.P.A. of fraternity members so that is it higher than that of all men at Pitt. Officials of the North American Interfraternity Conference said that they knew of many Greek organizations that set minimum G.P.A.s, but that they had not heard of a policy like the one at Pitt.

December 9, 2013

Four more institutions will participate in the University of Wisconsin System's competency-based education program, which is dubbed the UW Flexible Option. System officials said the new offerings will be certificate programs aimed at adult and nontraditional students. They will include certificates in sales, geographic information systems and alcohol and drug abuse counseling, among others. Some will be non-credit programs, while others may soon be linked to "stackable" bachelor's degree tracks.

December 9, 2013

A new study led by a University of Montreal researcher has found that the most Tweeted peer reviewed articles are not those that earn the most citations, a traditional measure of an article's scholarly influence. The science journal articles that receive the most tweets either deal with health issues or have findings that are either humorous or surprising, according to the study, which appears in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. The top two articles in terms of the number of tweets were on the effect of radiation on humans, and the top 15 included articles on acne in teenage athletes, penile fracture, and the links between physical activity and mortality rates.

 

December 9, 2013

Temple University announced Friday that it will drop seven intercollegiate athletic teams, leaving it with 17. Five men's teams will be eliminated -- baseball, crew, gymnastics, outdoor track and field and indoor track & field. Two women's teams -- softball and rowing -- will be eliminated. A statement from Kevin Clark, the director of athletics, said that the university needed to focus athletics spending on other programs. "Temple does not have the resources to equip, staff, and provide a positive competitive experience for 24 varsity sports. Continuing this model does a disservice to our student-athletes," said Clark. "We need to have the right-sized program to create a sustainable model."

December 6, 2013

"Online Education: More Than MOOCs" is a collection of news articles and opinion essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about the many forms of online learning that continue to develop outside the white-hot glare of hype surrounding massive open online courses. The articles aim to put recent developments in online education into long-term context, and the essays present the timely thinking of commentators about experts about how distance education is affecting learning and colleges' business models.

The goal is to provide some of Inside Higher Ed's best recent material (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here.

This is the fourth in a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics. On January 8, 2014, Inside Higher Ed will offer a free webinar in which Editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will discuss these issues. You can register for the webinar here.

 

December 6, 2013

Nichole Wilson, a psychology professor at Yavapai College, is having one of the best semesters ever in terms of student attendance and interaction. More than two-thirds of students have perfect attendance and there were only 12 absences over all over 30 class meeting dates. She attributes the change to a new approach she took this semester to explaining class expectations -- an approach she adopted after seeing a video of a flight attendant using a nontraditional approach to giving the safety instructions. Here is a video of Wilson's class introduction this semester (and likely next semester too, given how well it worked).

 

 

December 6, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Lynsey Romo of North Carolina State University reveals why extreme weight loss can be rough on a romantic relationship. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

December 6, 2013

Authorities in New Jersey are investigating whether a video shows the alleged sex assault of a Seton Hall University student, The New York Times reported. The video shows attendees at an off-campus party laughing and cheering during the alleged assault -- and the video was reportedly circulated among students. "The recording or sharing of images of the alleged incident is completely unacceptable and contrary to Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and commitment to fostering an academic and social environment where all students are respected," said a statement from the university.

 

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