Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 4:41am

Alabama now has a second community college president facing questions over his doctorate. Gary Branch, the president at Faulkner State Community College, has only an honorary doctorate, but is regularly called "Dr. Gary Branch," The Press-Register reported. Branch said that he has never hid the honorary nature of his doctorate. He said that he doesn't call himself "Dr.," although many other people do. But the Press-Register noted that Alabama's community colleges have a policy under which all references to any honorary doctorate must make clear that the degree was not earned. The newspaper noted that the state directory of community colleges is among the documents that identify the president of the college as "Dr." News about Branch comes in the wake of the discovery that the president and dean of Bishop State Community College have doctorates from unaccredited institutions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University at Albany's Michael Bloom discusses how environmental toxins are contributing to increasing rates of infertility. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

 
Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 4:55am

The University of South Florida Polytechnic says that the hiring of two sons of Marshall Goldman, the chancellor, did not violate anti-nepotism rules, The St. Petersburg Times reported. Goldman was not available for comment. One son was hired as a consultant without his knowledge, officials said, and Goldman reimbursed the university for what he was paid. As for the other son, the university said that he does not report to his father in a job that involves coordinating internships and special events at four business incubators.  A spokeswoman for the university said: "USF Polytechnic recognizes the concerns of nepotism and has made additional efforts to ensure we follow proper procedures."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Monmouth University has announced that it will be the new home of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. The collection has been housed in the Asbury Park Public Library, but outgrew that space. Among the items in the collection: books, concert programs, magazine and newspaper articles, and printed ephemera related to Bruce Springsteen and members of his bands.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Cornell University, which has been publicly seeking the chance to build a new applied sciences campus in New York City since July, announced Tuesday that it would join forces with the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in its final proposal. The city is seeking proposals for a new campus to help improve its technology industry, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the winning university could receive one of three plots of land and up to $100 million in infrastructure improvements paid for by the city. The partnership gives the Cornell some international prominence and a longer track record of successful spin-off inventions and companies.

Last week Stanford University, which has also been public about its interest in the competition, announced that it was teaming up with the City University of New York. Columbia University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, and others have also expressed interest, though not as vocally as Stanford and Cornell. The universities have until Oct. 28 to file their proposals.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The Marine Corps announced on Tuesday a 75 percent cut tuition assistance for service members who take courses during their off-duty time, Stars and Stripes reported. The maximum award has been cut from $3,500 a year to $875. According to Marine Corps officials, the average tuition costs for Marines who receive tuition aid is about $875 (typically two courses a year) so many will not be affected by the change.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

The Los Angeles Community College District is moving to end ties to one contractor and to one construction company involved in a much criticized multi-billion dollar facilities program, The Los Angeles Times reported. Both companies were among those whose work has come under scrutiny in a recent series of articles in the Times about the facilities program. The contractor was involved in the creation of one building that, on its opening, was missing exit signs and fire extinguishers, and that was found to have light fixtures that were not properly attached to ceilings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Forty-five faculty members at Belmont University have signed an open letter stating that they oppose torture and the death penalty, and back constitutional freedoms, The City Paper of Nashville reported. The letter does not name one of the newest faculty members at Belmont, Alberto Gonzales, but is believed to have been prompted by his appointment. Gonzales was attorney general under President George W. Bush and his views on those issues have been widely criticized by many (while being praised by others).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Tallys Yunes of the University of Miami reveals how computers have greatly simplified the complex process of scheduling umpire crews for Major League Baseball. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 3:00am

Money from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, part of the 2009 stimulus legislation, helped states shore up higher education and avoid layoffs and tuition increases but did not avert them entirely, according to a study released Tuesday by the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project.

The foundation conducted case studies on eight states to see how they used their portions of the $48.6 billion program, $39.6 billion of which was intended for education spending. Some practices differed from state to state -- Wyoming required institutions to use the majority of the money for facility improvements, while North Carolina and Nevada used the funds for salaries and benefits, for example -- but overall, they found that most states required at least a portion of the money be spent on salaries and benefits. Since these are ongoing expenses, that might not bode well for the future now that the money has run out. "Looking forward into 2012, institutions in the states selected for this case study are facing uncertain futures," the author, Jennifer Cohen, wrote. "While many of them believe their budget situations have stabilized, they are still functioning under strict
fiscal constraints."

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