Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Wayne Watson was hired as president of Chicago State University in 2009 over strong objections of faculty members, who noted that he had clashed with professors while leading the City Colleges of Chicago. Board members, however, said that he would improve enrollment figures and repair ties with the faculty. On Monday, the university announced Watson was leaving. Enrollment has dropped and the faculty voted no confidence in him last year, The Chicago Tribune reported. Board members said that they felt the university needed new leadership. Watson did not comment. He was midway through the fourth year of a five-year contract, and will now receive a one-year sabbatical at his $250,000 salary.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's executive committee on Friday expressed confidence in President Mark Emmert, even as some critics have called for his resignation in the face of the association's brutally embarrassing acknowledgment that its officials botched an investigation of rules violations at the University of Miami. Emmert was forced to concede last week that NCAA administrators had known about the association's improper hiring of a lawyer who manipulated bankruptcy proceedings to help the NCAA build a case, in contravention of the NCAA's procedures. Several top NCAA officials resigned, but two top aides to Emmert did not even though they acknowledged knowing about the improper conduct. When asked during a news conference last week whether he should take personal responsibility for the controversy, Emmert said it would be up to the executive committee to decide.

In its statement Friday, the panel, which is made up of college presidents, said that the association had significant work to do to ensure the credibility of its regulatory and enforcement processes. "Mark Emmert was hired to lead a major transformation of the NCAA.  Much has been accomplished without fanfare, such as academic reforms, enhanced fiscal accountability and organizational transparency," the panel said. "The Executive Committee and President Emmert recognize there is much yet to do and that the road to transformational change is often bumpy and occasionally controversial.  Therefore, on Friday the Executive Committee unanimously affirmed its confidence in Mark’s leadership as president and its support for his ongoing efforts to implement these essential and historic reforms.”

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Samer Hattar of Johns Hopkins University explains the negative effects of exposure to bright light during the night. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is a leading advocate of reduced government spending, discussed fish research Thursday night on Fox News. "In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were and if we could learn about democracy from goldfish,” Paul said. "I would give the president the authority to go ahead and cut all $5 million in goldfish studies."

But Iain Couzin, who does research in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, and who is among those doing the work in question, said that Paul misrepresented it. For starters, Couzin told Politico that the study involves golden shiner fish, not goldfish. Further, Couzin said that Paul incorrectly described the point of the research. “Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics,” Couzin said.



Monday, February 25, 2013 - 4:25am

A new study documents the decline of physical education requirements in higher education. Brad Cardinal, a professor at Oregon State University, studied information from 354 randomly selected four-year colleges and universities. In 1920, 97 percent of the colleges required students to take physical education. Today, the figure is at an all-time low of 39 percent. The work appears in the new issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Central Florida announced last week that it is suspending most fraternity and sorority activities while an investigation proceeds into two Greek groups for alleged violation of rules against hazing and alcohol abuse, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Many students in the fraternity and sorority systems are complaining about the move, but university officials said it was necessary to send a message. In the last three years, the university has found violations of hazing rules three times and of alcohol rules 13 times.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 4:27am

The University of Pennsylvania will this week announce major gifts to support a new international strategy for the institution, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Penn plans to create a "world house" in 2015 through which world leaders and Penn faculty members will work to tackle major global problems. Each year, a new problem will be selected. While Penn does not plan to start branch campuses abroad, it is preparing to open a center in China for a range of activities, including faculty research and interviewing applicants.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Lincoln Memorial University last week told 13 faculty members, one of whom had taught at the university for 18 years, that their contracts would not be renewed after this academic year, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The job cuts are being made because of projected decreases in enrollment next year. The university's graduate education programs have enrolled many students from Georgia -- educators eligible for raises if they complete certain degrees. Georgia has changed its rules such that completing the programs at Lincoln Memorial will no longer make people eligible for raises. Lincoln Memorial does not have tenure, so faculty members work on year-to-year contracts.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Emory University had hoped to highlights its library's ties to the civil rights movement on Friday at a reception to mark the opening of an exhibit of papers housed at the library from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. But students -- still angry over President James Wagner's essay suggesting that the Constitution's three-fifths compromise was a model for dealing with disagreements -- saw an opportunity to protest. As guests arrived at the reception, they had to walk by students standing in silence, holding signs that said “We are Emory,” “We are sorry,” “I deserve 5/5 respect,” “Ethics is not a brand" and "This is 5/5 outrageous," Atlanta Magazine reported.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

For years, veterinary medicine has been a field with a limited number of slots for students and, theoretically, good career prospects. But after years in which enrollments have grown and the numbers of pets and veterinary visits in the United States have declined, new veterinarians are facing a debt crunch, The New York Times reported. Salaries have fallen, and the average debt to income ratio for new D.V.M.s is now twice that of M.D.s.


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