Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, January 27, 2012 - 3:00am

U.S. authorities have arrested Seyed Mojtaba Atarodi, an assistant professor at Sharif University of Technology, in Iran, and charged him with violating U.S. export laws by purchasing high-tech lab equipment, the Associated Press reported. He is being held in California.

 

Friday, January 27, 2012 - 3:00am

Many followed the story of Patrick J. Witt, the star quarterback at Yale University, who in November said he was withdrawing his Rhodes Scholarship application, preferring to play the football game against Harvard University than skip the contest for a Rhodes interview. But The New York Times reported that, at the time Witt made that announcement, he already knew that he was no longer in contention for a Rhodes. The Rhodes committee had found out that Witt had been accused by a fellow student of sexual assault. The committee said it would only keep Witt's candidacy alive if Yale would again endorse him. The Times also reported that Witt is no longer enrolled at Yale, and that he did not graduate. Yale officials declined to discuss the case, citing confidentiality. Witt did not respond to requests for comment.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 3:00am

Stanford University today will release a plan to revise undergraduate education requirements. "Breadth" requirements (those outside the major) would focus on "Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing." This approach deals both with the content of courses, but also their format. In terms of content, students would be required to study courses to teach them seven skills: aesthetic and interpretive inquiry; social inquiry; scientific analysis; formal and quantitative reasoning; engaging difference; moral and ethical reasoning; and creative expression. In terms of course format, the report calls for freshmen to have courses that include lectures, discussion sessions and small seminars.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 4:24am

Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, on Wednesday again bashed colleges in a campaign appearance, urging those at a campaign event to stop giving contributions to colleges, CBS News reported. "It's no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college," he said. "The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn't one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?" Santorum also accused colleges of being anti-religion, and of turning students against religion. "If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them. Because you know 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it." (Several recent studies contradict Santorum's ideas on the relationship between higher education and faith. One study in fact found that while many young adults become less religious, the declines are greater among those who don't attend college than those who do.)

 

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 4:28am

Last year, the Board of Regents in Georgia made it much more difficult for the state's public colleges and universities to admit students who lack the legal documentation to live in the state. Many politicians pushed for the shift. Now the state is discussing an unintended consequence of the new rules: a lost football recruit at the University of Georgia. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a a 6-foot-5, 340-pound offensive lineman who committed to the university in the summer couldn't be admitted. The university was required by the new state policy to reject the student, the son of Samoan immigrants.

 

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 3:00am

A lawyer told Michigan lawmakers Wednesday that a proposed bill to pave the way for community colleges to offer four-year degrees might violate the state's constitution. The Grand Rapids Press reports that lawmakers were surprised by the testimony of Leonard Wolfe, in which he said two-year colleges would need to become universities for a legal conversion, which would mean collecting no more property tax revenue. Supporters of the bill have said it would create more affordable degree paths for students in certain programs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Elena Oancea of Brown University explains the similarity in how our eyes and skin respond to UV light. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 4:30am

The Occupy movement is back at the University of California at Davis, but without the tents that led to the infamous pepper spray confrontation last semester, The Sacramento Bee reported. Students this week occupied an unoccupied building on campus (the facility is being readied to hold different offices and so has been vacant) and have vowed to stay there. A university spokeswoman said that the institution was monitoring the situation.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the University of Oregon are announcing a drive to seek union representation in a chapter that would be affiliated jointly with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors. The AFT and the AAUP have been pushing together to unionize public research university campuses -- a sector within higher education that has seen proportionally fewer faculty unions than other parts of public higher education. Oregon is a "card check" state, meaning that if half of the eligible faculty members sign a card seeking a union, there would not need to be a vote. An Oregon spokesman said via e-mail that the university's leaders "support the right of workers to organize and have maintained neutrality on the issue of a faculty union. The university seeks to simply provide factual information to assist those affected by the effort to make informed decisions."

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 3:00am

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey proposed Wednesday that the Rutgers University Camden campus be merged with Rowan University, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The proposal is part of a broader higher education reform plan that would try to redefine and rename the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The governor says that the Camden-Rowan plan would create a better higher education presence in the southern part of the state. But opposition is already emerging to that part of the plan. The faculty union at Rutgers issued a statement questioning the merger, and saying that its members at Camden want to be part of a research university. While Rutgers and Rowan should cooperate more, the union says, their missions are sufficiently distinct that a merger is inappropriate.

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