Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 5, 2013

The University of California Academic Senate has adopted an open-access policy under which future research articles by professors at any of the system's 10 campuses will be available free and online in a university depository. The decision was reached after six years of deliberations and represents an advance for advocates of open access. Chris Kelty, associate professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and chair of the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, said: "This policy will cover more faculty and more research than ever before, and it sends a powerful message that faculty want open access and they want it on terms that benefit the public and the future of research."

August 5, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Brian Lowe of the State University of New York at Oneonta explains why Big Data is becoming a focus of academic inquiry. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 5, 2013

A University of Utah investigation found "reckless" misconduct in a lab, resulting in numerous errors in published papers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Errors have raised questions about 11 medical research papers published over the last five years. The investigation was prompted by the retractions of two of the papers. The author of many of the papers has been fired and the head of the lab retired. They and others affiliated with the lab did not respond to requests for comment.

 

August 5, 2013

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding that Troy University, a public institution in Alabama, abandon plans to open a dormitory restricted to those who participate in community activities with churches or faith-based groups. The foundation, citing the First Amendment's separation of church and state, questions how a public university could restrict access to people based on having a faith. Further, the foundation noted in a letter to the university that in some local press reports, Troy officials have been quoted as saying that Christian students would have preference for the spots, saying that non-Christians could move in "if there was space available." (Subsequently, a university spokesman disavowed that policy.) The university has not responded to the letter from the foundation.

 

 

August 5, 2013

A North Carolina judge has issued an injunction to block a new state law ordering the removal of four trustees from the board of Central Carolina Community College, The News & Observer reported. The law orders the removal of all four trustees appointed by a local school board, and bars those trustees from running again. The new law does not affect those trustees appointed by a county board of commissioners. The school board is controlled by Democrats, as are its appointees. The county board is controlled by Republicans, as are its appointees, and the state legislator who pushed the bill. A suit challenging the law charges that it is arbitrary, and that it is not the role of the state to remove community college trustees based on their party identification. Mike Stone, the state representative who sponsored the bill, said it was "totally legit."

 

August 5, 2013

Citing losses of approximately $7 million, Ave Maria University, in Florida, has sold its branch campus in Nicaragua, the Naples Daily News reported. The Nicaragua campus has been sold to the Fort Lauderdale-based Keiser University.

August 2, 2013

Altius Education, a for-profit company that runs Ivy Bridge College, announced late Thursday that Tiffin University, a nonprofit institution in Ohio, has been ordered by its accreditor to stop offering associate degrees through Ivy Bridge. Those degrees have been covered by Tiffin's accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, which according to Altius said that the Ivy Bridge programs must end by October 20. Ivy Bridge allows students to earn associate degrees online that can then be transferred to other institutions, although that transfer has depended on the program's accreditation. Ivy Bridge said it would focus immediately on trying to help students transfer to accredited institutions.

The announcement offered this explanation of the Higher Learning Commission's action: "In 2010, the HLC board approved continuing accreditation for Tiffin University and Ivy Bridge College through 2020. Since then, the HLC has made changes to select policies and procedures, and on July 25, the HLC notified Tiffin University that the business structure of Ivy Bridge College did not align with their changes in policy and issued the October 20 deadline for disengagement."

Here is a 2011 article in Inside Higher Ed on the Ivy Bridge-Tiffin relationship, noting that the program had won many supporters.

 

August 2, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Vanessa May of Seton Hall University explains why domestic workers were denied the protections of labor law for most of the 20th century. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 2, 2013

After abruptly firing its president -- who had been in office for less than two years -- in May, Arcadia University’s board does not plan on naming an interim president by the time classes begin in the fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Instead, chief operating officer Nicolette DeVille Christensen will run the university with the full authority of a president, although not carrying that title. Christopher van de Velde, the board chair, told the Inquirer that Arcadia is being run “very well” by Christensen, and the board is not yet “ready” to start a presidential search.

“She’s been a leader for many years now at the university,” a spokeswoman said about Christensen to Inside Higher Ed. Christensen joined Arcadia in the summer of 2008 and served as vice president of the College of Global Studies.

In the past three years, Arcadia has had four different leaders. Former president Jerry Greiner announced in the fall of 2011 that he would retire at the end of the academic year, but he left his position several months shy of the semester's end. Interim President James P. Gallagher who followed after, was supposed to stay until a new president arrived, but also exited early, a source told the Inquirer. Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III was elected president in 2011 and then mysteriously fired this past spring. Oxholm was shocked when he was fired, and the board never offered an explanation for the decision. His removal spurred anger from faculty, students and community members.

August 2, 2013

Millikin University, in Illinois, is standing behind a psychology professor whose past has become the focus of press attention in Illinois and in Texas, The Chicago Tribune reported. An article that appeared last week in The Georgetown Advocate asked "What Happened to Jim Wolcott?" That's the name of a 15-year-old who in 1967 killed his father (a professor at Southwestern University), mother and sister at their home in Georgetown, Texas. The shootings took place after Wolcott, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had sniffed glue. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was institutionalized for six years. He then went on to higher education, earning a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and becoming a psychology professor and chair of behavioral sciences at Millikin -- under the name James St. James.

According to a statement from Millikin to the Tribune, the university only recently learned of the past of St. James. "Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, Dr. St. James' efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable. The university expects Dr. St. James to teach at Millikin this fall," the statement said. St. James declined to comment to the Tribune except to say that he planned to return to work.

 

 

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