Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 30, 2013

Kalamazoo College has changed the way it calculates grade-point averages so that only an A, not an A- as has been the case, is worth a 4.0, MLive reported. An A- will be worth only 3.67.  In another change, there will be separate vales for grades of B+, B and B- (3.33, 3.0 and 2.67, respectively). Previously, all three B grades were worth 3.0. Officials said that the college made the change not out of concerns about grade inflation, but to help students applying to graduate schools. Some graduate schools were recalculating Kalamazoo G.P.A.s because its prior system is not widely used.

 

May 29, 2013

The Harvard University dean who authorized searches of the e-mail accounts of some resident deans (who are something like junior faculty members) has announced she will return to the faculty. Numerous press accounts seemed to suggest a link between the departure of Evelynn M. Hammonds as dean of Harvard College, and the controversy over the e-mail searches. But she told reporters that there was no such link. The Harvard announcement said that she had decided to return to teaching and research. Hammonds will lead a new program for the study of race and gender in science and medicine.

 

May 29, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Christopher Nomura of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry explains the discovery of a new weapon in the battle against bacteria. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

May 29, 2013

ST. LOUIS -- In an opening plenary speech at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference on Tuesday, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled his time as an international student at Minnesota’s Macalester College, saying that it taught him “lessons which have remained indispensable throughout my career. Not all these lessons were learned, I must admit, in the classroom."

“I remember when I got to Minnesota, my first winter ever, coming straight from Africa to Minnesota, I had to put on layers and layers of clothes to stay warm. And I thought that was reasonable enough.” There was, however, one common item of clothing he was determined he would never wear: “the earmuffs,” as he called them. He would wear no such things. “They were inelegant,” he told a laughing audience.

“Until one day when the temperature had hit -23 degrees, with a wind chill factor, I went to get something to eat and I thought my ears were going to fall off. The next day I can assure you I went and bought my earmuffs.”

“I learned a precious lesson – that you don’t walk into a situation, you don’t go into a country and pretend you know better than the locals, you know better than the natives. You better listen to them and look at what they do," Annan said.

More than 8,000 professionals in international education are attending the conference, which continues through Friday. 

May 29, 2013

The group Friends of Roxbury Community College is opposing the selection of a new board chair because he is white, The Boston Business Journal reported. The group sent a letter to Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, saying that it was "insulting for Governor Patrick to appoint a white person to head up the body that is the primary decision maker for the college. He is sending a message that although we are a predominantly black institution, it will take a white person to give you the vision and leadership to take the college to the 'promised land' of education. That is the 'plantation' type mentality." The governor's appointee is Gerald Chertavian, who is the CEO of Year Up, a nonprofit that helps urban youth advance educationally. In an interview, Sadiki Kambon, the head of the Friends of Roxbury Community College, said that the organization had no objection to Chertavian personally and would welcome him on the board, just not as chair. The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment. Chertavian said he was focused on "serving the college and the students as best I can and making sure they achieve their potential."

 

May 29, 2013

In what is believed to be a first, a man playing college basketball has identified himself as gay during his college years. Jallen Messersmith told his story to the website Outsports, which reported on his experiences coming out at Benedictine College, a liberal arts college in Kansas that plays in the NAIA. Messersmith described coaches and fellow athletes who have been totally supportive, as "100 percent for me." Other men who played college basketball have come out after the end of their college careers, but Messersmith is a junior. There are many out women in college basketball, although many report facing homophobia.

 

 

May 29, 2013

Haifa University has become the first university in Israel to give all students the day off on the most important Christian, Muslim and Druze holidays, Christmas, Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha, respectively, Haaretz reported. A new calendar will be issued that will not cut either the Jewish holidays off or the total number of class days.

 

May 29, 2013

Student services employees at Evergreen State College went on strike Tuesday, The Olympian reported. The union and the administration differ on salaries and procedures for firing employees. Some faculty members moved classes off campus to avoid crossing picket lines.

 

May 29, 2013

Faculty members at Transylvania University have voted, 68 to 7, no confidence in President Owen Williams, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Faculty members object to the president's refusal to grant tenure to two faculty members who had passed reviews and who, faculty leaders said, had performed the work they had been told would assure tenure. Professors also criticized the president's management style. Trustees responded with a unanimous vote expressing confidence in Williams.

 

May 28, 2013

The Australian National University forced the student newspaper (threatening it with loss of funds and possible action against editors) to remove a satirical graphic about Islam, The Australian reported. The graphic was part of a series that had satirized various other faiths as well. This one referred to certain Muslim beliefs about women as constituting a "rape fantasy." University officials noted that graphics that mock Islam have set off violent incidents in numerous countries in the past. A statement from the university said: "In a world of social media, [there is] potential for material such as the article in question to gain attention and traction in the broader world and potentially harm the interests of the university and the university community." Woroni, the student newspaper, published its own account of the controversy, questioning the university's response. The student paper apologized to any offended, but also noted that the item in question was satire and was part of a series that satirized other faiths. The paper's editorial added that "Woroni is concerned about the implications of these events for freedom of speech and, more generally, the role of student publications. Woroni regularly features material that is challenging, and even at times confronting. By their very nature, universities are forums to critique ideas and beliefs. University newspapers – as a platform for students – should ideally reflect this role."

 

Pages

Back to Top