Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 11, 2013

Many medical schools are trying to grow, but Vanderbilt University has announced it is shrinking its medical school admissions and Ph.D. admissions at its medical center by 10 percent, The Tennessean reported. Jeffrey Balser, chief of the university's medical center, said that "our priority must be quality, not quantity."

November 11, 2013

Evan Dobelle has announced his retirement as president of Westfield State University, The Republican reported. For the past few months, Dobelle has been under fire by Massachusetts officials over reports of his big spending on travel and entertainment. Westfield State's board suspended Dobelle with pay last month, and he then sued the board, saying it had acted illegally.

In a statement, Dobelle said: "[T]he unnecessary and unfortunate distractions of the last several months have led me to conclude that the only appropriate path for the University is one which will allow it to move forward unencumbered by such diversions. This path will provide a means by which the university can emerge, before the spring semester begins, from the recent torrent of gratuitous media attention and can get back to focusing its efforts and energies where they are best put to use -- for the benefit of the students, faculty, and a decidedly bright future."

 

November 11, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Edwin Torres of Monmouth University explains why the technology for building a Terminator is on the rise. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 11, 2013

A new analysis by ACT has found that only 36 percent of those who take the ACT and indicate a planned choice of college major are selecting a subject that is a good fit with their stated academic interests. Generally, those students scoring higher on the ACT were found to be more likely to have major choices that were a good fit.

 

November 11, 2013

Eastern Michigan University fired Ron English as football coach after a tape surfaced of him yelling at team members in a tirade with numerous expletives and insults, The Detroit News reported. Heather Lycke, the athletics director, issued a statement on the dismissal Saturday: "We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where the language is appropriate. The statements made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable. My decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape."

The Detroit News article linked to above includes a link to a censored version of the recording.

The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper at Eastern Michigan, has released an uncensored version of the recording.

 

November 11, 2013

Gonzaga University has announced that it will review its ban on gun ownership, The Spokesman-Review reported. Two Gonzaga students are facing punishment, possibly excluding expulsion, after an incident in which they scared away a homeless man who showed up at their door demanding money. The students held up a gun during the incident, but no shots were fired. While the incident ended without violence, the students now face charges of violating Gonzaga's ban on guns in university facilities such as their housing unit. Many have criticized the university, saying that the students showed how guns can be used in self-defense. Thayne McCulloh, president of the university, said now would be a time for a "thoughtful evaluation" of the policy, which for now remains in effect.

 

November 11, 2013

Hundreds of academics have urged the University of Zurich to restore the job of Iris Ritzmann, a professor at the university's Institute for the History of Medicine, SwissInfo reported. She was fired for confidential documents to reporters that deal with criticism of Christoph Mörgeli, the head of the university’s Medical History Museum, who is also a politician. Statements by Ritzmann's supporters say that she has defended academic standards, and was punished for political reasons. The rector, Andreas Fischer, has resigned amid the controversy, saying he took "ultimate responsibility" for what has happened.

 

November 11, 2013

Turnover in the senior ranks at the University of Wyoming has increased substantially in the five months that Robert Sternberg has been president, The Casper Star-Tribune reported. Eleven deans or other administrators have resigned, a number at the request of Sternberg, and the departure of the law dean has been particular contentious. Higher education experts in the article noted that turnover in the administrative ranks is fairly common when a new president takes over -- and puts his or her own team in place. But others said that the pace of change has been unusual.

 

November 11, 2013

The tech company Intel announced Friday that it has purchased Kno, which produces interactive versions of textbooks. TechCrunch and other tech analysis blogs view the purchase as a significant push by Intel into the education space.

November 11, 2013

Harvard University recently announced an 11.3 percent return on its endowment, which was valued at $32.7 billion on June 30. That's the largest endowment in higher education. The university also recently announced a $6.5 billion fund-raising campaign -- the largest ever in higher education. But an interview released by the university Friday with its chief financial officer, Dan Shore, he focused on financial pressures on the university. He said that the university has a $34 million deficit. And while that's small in the context of the university's $4.2 billion budget, he said that "the path toward our ability to thrive in the future requires that we not wait until the deficit gets even bigger before we start to act, because then it will require us to be in a much more reactive position." He also noted uncertainty about federal support, on which Harvard relies for research.

In language that is similar to that used at many less wealthy colleges, Shore also said that Harvard can't simply add expenses. "The campaign helps, but, fundamentally, we can no longer live in a world where things continue simply to be additive," Shore said. "The next new and exciting thing that we think it’s important to do can’t simply be layered on top of all of the other things that we’ve been doing. It’s just not a sustainable model. And I think the entire higher education industry is feeling the need to move away from that way of doing business."

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