Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Protests and political battles are creating tensions and leading to evictions at Sri Lanka's universities, BBC reported. Students complain about a range of government policies and proposals to create private universities, a move they see as one that would end a tradition of free higher education in the country.

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 3:00am

In her first extensive interview since her work was dropped from Newt Gingrich's next book, Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, defended climate science and criticized the politicization of the issue. Hayhoe spoke to The Guardian, saying: "I really, really deplore the politicization and polarization of this issue. There are these increasingly unprincipled attempts to polarize the science when the science is fact -- like the sky is blue, the grass is green and the temperature of our planet is increasing."

Gingrich is getting ready to publish a collection of essays on environmental issues, and Hayhoe had been included. But she was dropped after Rush Limbaugh criticized her inclusion. National Journal published an article about, and video of, Gingrich being approached by a would-be supporter who had heard Limbaugh's criticism, and who was reassured when Gingrich assured her that the essay would be removed from his book.

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 3:00am

The Board of Governors of the California community college system on Monday voted to endorse recommendations from a state task force that seeks to improve student success amid a backdrop of deep budget cuts. The recommendations include more of an emphasis on first-time students who are on-track to a degree or credential, a controversial shift for a system that has long been steadfastly committed to open access. But the task force and system leaders argue that the 112 colleges are already rationing slots, having turned away 140,000 students in a recent year, with an estimated 200,000 who will be frozen out this year. California's Legislature is scheduled to consider the recommendations in the next two months.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Flawed efforts to restructure Washington's higher education governance and skyrocketing tuition have the state's college and university system "adrift" at a crucial time for its high-tech economy, according to the second in a series of analyses of state higher education governance and policy by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, "Policy and Leadership Vacuum Undermines Higher Education in Washington," was produced by the State Review Project at Penn's Institute for Research on Higher Education, which released an analysis of Illinois in November.

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Economic Association responded to criticism that some economists were too close to businesses or the government by issuing a new set of guidelines last week at its annual meeting in Chicago, aiming to get scholars to disclose the supporters of their research when they publish in AEA journals. The new guidelines were approved at an executive committee meeting Thursday. “Every submitted article should state the sources of financial support for the particular research it describes. If none, that fact should be stated,” says one of the new principles. Another principle asks authors to “identify each interested party from whom he or she has received significant financial support, summing to at least $10,000 in the past three years, in the form of consultant fees, retainers, grants and the like. The disclosure requirement also includes in-kind support, such as providing access to data.” The additions come after years of introspection by economists, following the financial meltdown of 2008.

 

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Lisa Troyer, chief of staff to the president of the University of Illinois System, resigned abruptly Friday amid an inquiry into whether she sent anonymous e-mail messages to faculty members trying to influence their deliberations on policy matters, The Chicago Tribune reported. The university did not announce the reasons for Troyer's resignation, but it came as the Tribune was making inquiries into the investigation of the allegations against her. Faculty leaders were concerned about a senior aide to the president trying to play the part online of a faculty member advising colleagues.

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Xavier University, in Ohio, has backed away from a plan to require all students who were in the student section at a basketball game at which a brawl broke out to attend a "reflection session" as a condition of attending any other basketball games, Cincinnati.com reported. The brawl -- involving athletes from Xavier and its crosstown rival the University of Cincinnati -- embarrassed both universities. An e-mail announcing the requirement said: "The student section contributed to the hostile atmosphere that charged the arena with unsportsmanlike conduct through unacceptable chanting, verbal expletives, and objects being thrown onto the arena floor. As a Jesuit, Catholic university, the behaviors demonstrated are not becoming of its students and is in conflict with the mission, values, and standards of Xavier University." But many students objected to everyone being required to attend the event, so the university is now making attendance voluntary, and inviting all students, not just those who were in attendance the night of the brawl.

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department has tapped the president of Southern Vermont College, Karen Gross, to advise it on issues related to college access, affordability and completion. In a news release Friday, Southern Vermont said that Gross had been granted a year's leave of absence from the presidency to serve as a senior policy adviser to Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter, with whom Gross and Southern Vermont had worked on several initiatives. Gross, who spent two decades as a law professor and expert on consumer debt before assuming the presidency of the small Vermont private college in 2006, has focused on the educational success of first-generation and low-income students, top priorities of the Obama administration. (She has written frequently for Inside Higher Ed.)

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The board of Kean University is investigating allegations of false statements on the résumé of Dawood Farahi, the president, The Wall Street Journal reported. The faculty union at Kean has questioned whether Farahi falsely claimed to have written more than 50 articles, including some allegedly published in journals that do not exist. Professors at Kean have had numerous conflicts with Farahi, and have charged that he does not respect the faculty role in governance, and that his priorities don't reflect academic needs at the New Jersey institution. A statement from Farahi denied the allegations and said that they were motivated by "hate, prejudice and greed."

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Vietnamese universities are pushing for more autonomy, Viet Nam News reported. The institutions want control over such matters as enrollment policy and administration. Government officials have said that some state control remains needed to assure quality.

 

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