Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Andrew Colman of the University of Leicester explains why natural selection seems to favor cooperation among individuals. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

South Korea's Sungkyunkwan University has announced that it will reject any applicant with a history of bullying, unless the applicant has shown remorse and a change of behavior, The Korea Times reported. The South Korean Education Ministry has adopted new requirements that schools maintain records of those who engage in bullying, paving the way for the university's new policy. Other universities are expected to adopt similar policies.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Canadian-Iranian academics who fled Iran are protesting the decision by Carleton University in Ottawa to host a conference called "The Contemporary Awakening and Imam Khomeini’s Thoughts.," Maclean's reported. The university says that it simply let a student group (along with the Iranian embassy) organize an event, consistent with the principles of free expression. But a group of academics with personal experience in Iran have issued a letter asking how a university could host an event to honor Ayatollah Khomeini. "Through his 'cultural revolution' following the 1979 revolution, all Iranian universities were closed down for two years and thousands of faculty and students expelled, and many of them jailed, executed or forced into exile," the letter said. "We support, and many of us are engaged in, international academic collaborations. However, we think reputable academic institutions have a moral obligation not to turn a blind eye on atrocities committed against their colleagues in other countries. Providing a forum to individuals, who under the pretext of academic freedom, propagate the ideas and values of a regime that is known for its violation of all standards of academic freedom and rights, is far from promoting academic debates."


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

A survey being released today suggests that arts graduates -- counter to the stereotype -- are not all facing unemployment. The survey, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, includes graduates of arts colleges and of arts programs within broader universities. Among the findings:

  • 87 percent of arts graduates who are currently employed are satisfied with the job in which they spend the majority of their work time.
  • Of those employed alumni, 82 percent are satisfied with their ability to be creative in their current work, whether working in the arts or in other fields.
  • Only 4 percent of respondents report being unemployed and looking for work – less than half the national rate of 8.9 percent.
  • 84 percent of employed alumni agree that their current primary job reflects their personalities, interests and values, whether their work is in the arts or other fields.
  • Those with degrees in the performing arts and design are the most likely ever to be employed as professional artists, with 82 percent of dance, theater and music performance majors, and 81 percent of design majors working as professional artists at some point.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 4:32am

Charitable giving to education at all levels hit $38.87 billion 2011, a 4 percent increase, according to the annual "Giving USA" study, released today. Adjusted for inflation, the increase is just under 1 percent, reflecting the slow recovery in giving following the economic downturn of 2008.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Luther of George Mason University explains how urban-dwelling birds have responded to an increase in man-made noise. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 4:34am

The Pittsburgh office of the National Labor Relations Board on Monday rejected a request by Duquesne University to block a vote by adjuncts on whether to unionize, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Duquesne, a Roman Catholic university, argued that its religious affiliation should exempt it from a union election. But the NLRB noted that Duquesne had agreed to a union vote just weeks earlier, and that long-established NLRB policy bars parties from opting out of an election they have agreed to barring truly unusual circumstances.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Officials at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln believe a professor who had been leading students on a study abroad trip has been detained by Chinese authorities for undisclosed reasons, based on reports from the professor’s family.

Weixing Li, an assistant professor of practice management at the university’s College of Business Administration, has offered the monthlong study abroad program since 2008, and he had not experienced any problems with the Chinese government until now, said David Wilson, senior international officer at the university. Li’s family notified the university on Friday that Li had called his sister in China to tell her he had been detained. Neither the family nor the university has been able to ascertain when he was detained or his whereabouts, and his family indicated they believe he is still in custody.

“There’s a good deal we don’t know -- when, why or where he was detained, for example,” Wilson said. Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment on Li’s detention.

Wilson said Li is not an American citizen, which makes obtaining information about his situation difficult. “We’ve been working with the American Embassy (in Beijing), but there’s very little they can do because this faculty member is a Chinese national.”

According to a brochure, the study abroad program occurred from May 5 to June 1. Out of the 18 total participants, 11 decided to stay in China after the program ended to participate in internships or other activities. Wilson said Li was detained after the program ended, so Li was no longer accompanying the students. The university notified the students who remained in China about Li’s detention, and about half of them decided to come home early, Wilson said.

“We have no reason to believe that our students are not safe, or that this detention is in any way connected with them, but we felt that it was important to share that news with them so that they could talk it over with their families and make decisions,” he said, adding that the news had not yet been shared with the rest of the university community. Wilson said he contacted some other institutions to ask if they have had faculty members detained abroad, and no one he contacted has had experience with this scenario.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 4:36am

Niagara Falls, N.Y. has more than high-wire acts to attract attention. The city is offering to repay $3,500 a year in student loan debt, for two years, for people who move to certain neighborhoods in the city, The Buffalo News reported. Mayor Paul A. Dyster said the plan was key to finding young people to live in the community. "Trying to revitalize a downtown without young people is like trying to get bread to rise without yeast," he said.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Terrence A. Gomes resigned on Monday as president of Roxbury Community College, according to the college's board chair. Roxbury, which is located in Massachusetts, has been dogged by several controversies, The Boston Globe reported, including an ongoing audit by the U.S. Department of Education and a state probe that found questionable allocations of financial aid. The college has also been under fire for allegedly underreporting crime on campus.


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