Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 30, 2013

The Islamist group Boko Haram is being blamed for the shooting deaths of up to 50 students at an agricultural college in Nigeria, with many of the students shot as they slept, BBC reported. The group opposes any education that is not focused on Islamic teachings.

 

September 30, 2013

Ohio University's marching band, at the request of administrators, dropped the controversial hit song "Blurred Lines" (which critics argue glorifies rape) from its halftime show, The Columbus Dispatch reported. While several British university pubs have barred playing the song, it has been featured in several halftime shows by university bands in the United States this football season. Richard Suk, director of the band, said he didn't object to the administrators' request but was concerned about "where do we draw the line in the future?"

The Post, the student newspaper at Ohio, has run opinion pieces criticizing the original decision to play "Blurred Lines," but the newspaper's editorial board took a different stand this time. "[W]hile we believe the [marching band] should not have chosen to perform the song, we also believe the administration should not have stepped in. The university should not censor the music on campus; we students are adults now, and can form opinions for ourselves," the editorial said.

September 30, 2013

North Carolina State University on Friday announced a $50 million gift from the Park Foundation. The funds will support a scholarship program through which students receive a four-year scholarship, a computer stipend, specialized faculty mentoring and various special learning opportunities.

 

September 30, 2013

Unexplained pay disparity exists between male and female early-career physician-researchers, according to an article published in the Academic Medicine journal.

Researchers accounted for specialty, academic rank, work hours and spousal employment and found a 10 percent pay disparity. The disparity, they found, was greater within higher-paying specialties. Women in emergency medicine earned an average of $165,114 compared with men in the specialty who earned $195,771.

About one-third of the initial 17 percent pay disparity could be attributed to the influence of gender-linked beliefs that men need more money to support families. The other two-thirds of the disparity were unexplained.

One potential reason is that women often negotiate salary less aggressively than men and often are judged more harshly for initiating negotiations, researchers said. The authors suggested female residents and fellows take part in salary negotiation training prior to faculty appointments.

“Scholars have noted that gender differences in salary that exist early in a career are likely to widen over time, and that initial salary negotiation may merit particular attention,” researchers wrote in the study. 

September 30, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicolas Cowan of Northwestern University explains how cloud cover moderates the temperature of tidally-locked exoplanets orbiting red dwarf starts. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 30, 2013

Glasgow Caledonian University, founded in Scotland and with a campus in London as well, has opened a campus in New York City, becoming the first British university to do so, Times Higher Education reported. The university plans to offer graduate programs in fashion and the business of fashion.

 

September 30, 2013

Medical students can earn academic credit at the University of California at San Francisco for editing content on Wikipedia. Fourth-year medical students in a new class will be editing articles, adding images, reviewing edits and adding citations to support unreferenced text. They will focus on editing 80 frequently used articles that have low levels of quality. Wikipedia is a widely used reference for health topics, but medical entries can lack sources and have gaps in content.

“We’re recognizing the impact Wikipedia can have to educate patients and health care providers across the globe, and want users to receive the most accurate publicly available, sound medical information,” said Amin Azzam, association clinical professor and instructor for the new class, in a news release. The class will also teach students how to communicate with consumers about health topics.

The class is a collaboration between the UCSF School of Medicine and the Wiki Project Med Foundation.
 

September 30, 2013

The U.S. Justice Department plans to sue North Carolina over its restrictive voter identification law, The New York Times reported, escalating the federal government's efforts to stop states from limiting the rights of minority residents -- and some college students -- to cast their ballots. College students have been particularly affected by laws passed in various states -- including North Carolina -- that require voters to present photo identification at the ballot box, but do not recognize student identifications or IDs issued by public assistance agencies as acceptable forms.

 

 

September 30, 2013
Norman Fortenberry, executive director of the American Society for Engineering Education, has issued an apology for the publication in the group's magazine Prism of an anti-gay letter. "I apologize. I wish to express deep regret for my error in judgment in advocating publication of Professor Wayne Helmer’s letter in the September issue of Prism and for the resulting anger, pain, disappointment, and embarrassment to ASEE members, officers, and staff and the LGBTQ community," said Fortenberry's statement. The Helmer letter said in part: "We would do well to teach the truth about the homosexual /lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender lifestyle. These dear people caught up in this destructive way of life need true help and true hope and not encouragement or approval of a detrimental, negative lifestyle."
 
The letter prompted an uproar by many members of the engineering society, and Fortenberrry -- while saying that the letter should have had a disclaimer -- had defended the decision to publish it. In his apology, Fortenberry expressed a new position. "My rationale in publishing the letter has been reported elsewhere and will not be repeated here," he wrote. "In that rationale I failed to recognize that there is a balance to be struck between representing a variety of viewpoints and not providing a platform for views that are generally considered outside the mainstream of public debate."
 
September 30, 2013

A Hong Kong businessman plans to donate $130 million to help the Technion, Israel's leading science university, establish a technology institute in China's Guangdong Province, The Wall Street Journal reported. Li Ka-Shing said he would provide the funds to a joint venture with China's Shantou University, to which he has contributed roughly $750 million over three decades. Local governments will provide a $147 million grant as well to create Technion Guandong Institute of Technology, the Journal reported.

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