Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:16am

The American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, is starting a 15-month master of arts program in teaching to train earth science teachers, The New York Times reported. Tuition will be free and students will receive $30,000 stipends and health insurance.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Education ministers and academics from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have formed the Visegrad Group to promote improvements in their higher education systems, The New York Times reported. With increased student mobility in Europe, leading educators in the four countries want to make sure their graduates' credentials are well-respected elsewhere, and that their programs are competitive.

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Behavioral and social sciences play a key role in health issues and need to play a key role in the medical school curriculum, according to a report released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report notes that behaviors and the social determinants of health -- such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socioeconomic status -- account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States.

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:40am

Central Michigan University's faculty formally approved a three-year contract extension Thursday, the university announced, ending a long labor dispute that included a strike and a judge's order to return to work.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:52am

Viruses on computers at City College of San Francisco have sent personal banking and other information from thousands of faculty members, administrators and others to hackers with ties to Russian and Chinese criminal networks for as long as a decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus officials identified the breaches weeks ago and are working to eliminate them. No cases of identity theft have been cited yet, though, the newspaper reported.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Poulin-Deltour of Middlebury College explains how divergent cultural roots created different ideas of community in the United States and France. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (the national faculty union in Canada) on Thursday criticized the government for naming Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University's president, as co-chair of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program selection board. The research chairs program has provided funds for Canadian research universities to recruit top professors from all over the world, and Canadian academics have closely watched the work of the panel that has picked winners. The statement from James L. Turk, executive director of the faculty group, did not name Tilghman, and he stressed that the group had no fault with her -- only with her serving while being president of an American university. "We were surprised and disappointed at the announcement today that no Canadian university president or other academic was deemed distinguished enough to be named co-chair," Turk said in the statement. "There is no shortage of Canadian university presidents and other distinguished academics at Canadian universities who could more appropriately have filled the role."

Canadian officials praised Tilghman for agreeing to serve on the panel, noting that she was raised in Winnipeg. A Princeton official confirmed that she remains a Canadian citizen. It appears that Princeton may have a fondness for Canadian leaders. Tilghman has been president since 2001. She succeeded Harold T. Shapiro, a Montreal native with dual Canadian and American citizenship.

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Liberty University has just sold $100 million in bonds, bringing its total debt to $228 million, to finance expansion, Bloomberg reported. The Christian university has $225 million in projects planned in the next five years, including a library, a baseball stadium and a school of health sciences.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 3:00am

More than 100 American medical schools have agreed to work with the Obama administration to ensure that the country's doctors are trained to meet the "unique health care needs of the military and veterans communities," the two major groups that represent them announced Wednesday. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges cited the medical and psychological problems that plague military service members and veterans and their family members, and said they and their members would take a series of steps to ensure that medical school graduates are trained to recognize and treat health issues. The institutions also committed to stepping up their research into ailments and conditions that afflict the military. The announcement came as part of the administration's larger Joining Forces effort.
 

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 3:00am

INDIANAPOLIS -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan made clear his displeasure with the National Collegiate Athletic Association at its annual convention Wednesday in a keynote address that, while ultimately conveying a message of encouragement, called out the organization for everything from sex abuse scandals to "New Testament"-length rulebooks. He chided institutions for their frantic conference realignment, which peaked this year as colleges sought multimillion-dollar TV deals or panicked about getting left behind. Duncan seemed astonished that even as institutional spending on athletes far outpaces spending on other students, none of the $20 million that colleges receive for playing in a Bowl Championship Series game goes toward academic purposes. He mocked the near-comical excess of the 426-page NCAA rulebook (giving a recruit a bagel is allowed, but add cream cheese and it's a violation), and lamented that a quarter of this year's BCS teams graduate fewer than half their athletes. All of the above (and let's not forget violations in recruiting and myriad other rules) have combined, Duncan said, to create a "disturbing" and "dangerous narrative" in the public that college sports lives in an insular world that's all about the money.

Duncan did commend the NCAA for its new academic reform measures, which set higher standards for athletic eligibility. "It seems clear that they are steps in the right direction," he said. "Raising the bar is always the right way to go.... Keep going, and please, please, resist the temptation to tinker or temper with your core principles." It will come down to courageous leaders, he said: while addressing these issues may be a political challenge, "This does not take a Nobel Laureate to solve."

Asked whether all this was even the NCAA's problem, Duncan (before answering in the affirmative) even got in a dig at the legislature. "If any of us are looking for Congress to solve this," he said, "good luck."

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